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Thanks toThe Set-Up,“ 


this set’s mine, all mine, 
uniquely exclusively mine 
go get your own.” 

Alan Gratzer, REO Speedwagon 


Presenting The Set-Up.™ 

Now you can group, position and angle every component to meet your 
individual needs — and your inimitable style. 


From the incomparable flair of REOs Alan 
Gratzer-to your own unique style. Now, there's a drum 
system versatile enough to eater to any drummer's 
ability—and individuality. Because the unique modular 
design of The Set-Up from Ludwig now allows you 
virtually unlimited flexibility in tom tom placement. 

From either bass drum or floor stands, you can 
build up to a three-level, six tom grouping-with each 
tom ideally positioned and angled for maximum 
playing speed. And, thanks to Ludwig’s exclusive 
Quik-Set TV feature, you can pre-set every component 


to an exact height and angle to make setting up faster 
than ever before. 

Best of all, the Set-Up's design allows an outfit to 
grow with you “your music—your stage or studio 
needs. It T s uniquely yours. And that's the pay-off. 

Alan Gratzer also plays Ludwigs 6- ply wood shell drums and 
Ludwig Rockers™ heads exclusively 

lunuuiq 

Ludwig Industries 

1728 N. Datnen Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60647 












MODERN DRUMMER 


VOL 6 NO. 8 


Cover Photo by Rick Mattingly 

FEATURES 


CONTENTS 


VINNIE COLAIUTA 

Occasionally, a lot of people will start talking about a certain 
musician—"Hey, have you heard...?" Most recently, Vince Col- 
aiuta has captured this kind of attention. First coming to promi¬ 
nence with Frank Zappa, Vinnie has gone on to make his mark on 
the L.A. studio scene. MD caught up with Vinnie, and probed the 

_ background of "the new guy in town." _ 

by Robyn Flans.... 8 


BARRY ALTSCHUL 

Having the ability to combine such diverse influences as Dixie¬ 
land, blues and avant-garde into a cohesive style demands a strong 
underlying concept. Barry Altschul has such a concept, which he is 


by Rick Mattingly.. 

. 12 

THE HISTORY OF ROCK DRUMMING 


Part V: The Final Chanter 


by Scott Fish....., - 

16 

BOB DISALLE 


A View From Toronto 


by Scott Fish.... 

ZU 


LIBERTY DEVITTO 

When Billy Joel decided that his New York-flavored music 
called for New York musicians, drummer Liberty DeVitto became 
part of Joel's band, where he has remained ever since. Liberty talks 
about drumming for Billy, and about his various other studio ac- 

_ tivities. _ 

by Cheech Iero... 24 


WILLIAM F. LUDWIG, JR. 

A Candid Discus sion 
by Dave Levine 


" 28 " 



Photo by Lissa Wales 



Photo by Tom Copi 



Photo by Lissa Wales 


COLUMNS 


EDUCATION 



STRICTLY TECHNIQUE 


Triolets With Paradiddles and Doubles 

by Brent Brace ... 

84 

ROCK CHARTS 

"Touch and Go" 

by James Morton.... 

90 

COMPLETE PERCUSSIONIST 

Introduction to Tabla 


by Brian Knave.... 

., 94 

RUDIMENTAL SYMPOSIUM 

Rudimental Positioning For 

Set and Snare 


by Mark Van Dyck. .......... 

. 100 

STAYING IN TUNE 


by Hal Blaine... 112 



by Scott Fish .. 76 


NEWS 


UPDATE 


by Robyn Flans. 


TTF 

118 


INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS 


DEPARTMENTS 


EQUIPMENT 

PRODUCT CLOSE-UP 

Tama Superstar X- TRAS 50 Drum Kit 
by Bob Saydlowski, Jr. 36 


EDITOR'S OVERVIEW . 1.. 

READER’S PLATFORM 


TT’S QUESTIONABLE 

DRUM MARKET. 

ASK A PRO.. 


. 2 
. 4 
. 6 
110 
114 


NOVEMBER 1982 


1 































































No doubt about it, the MD Circulation Department receives its fair 
share of complaint mail, as do all consumer magazines. Approximately 
75% of our circulation detail work is handled by computer, but that's ab¬ 
solutely no guarantee problems won't occur. In some cases, the computer 
causes more problems than it solves. Other times, problems are directly 
created by people. Either way, we're forced to deal with subscriber prob¬ 
lems on a day to day basis, and willingly accept the blame when we are at 
fault. 

However, there's another type of circulation problem which tends to be 
more frustrating, simply because we have little or no control over it. A 
good example would be subscribers who voice annoyance over receiving 
their copy of MD after their neighborhood music dealer. Let me explain: 

MD's distribution is handled through our printer in the Midwest. Upon 
completion of the printing process, address labels are affixed and the mag¬ 
azines are zip-sorted for mailing. Within two days, every subscriber copy is 
in the mailstream and in the hands of the United States Postal Service. 

When the subscriber mailing is complete, bulk shipments are packed, la¬ 
beled, and on the way to music shops across the country. However, the 
bulk orders are delivered by United Parcel Service (UPS). And even though 
the music dealer shipments enter the distribution stream after the sub¬ 
scriber copies, the dealer will usually receive his magazine first. The reason 
is simple: United Parcel Service is faster than the United States Postal Ser¬ 
vice. 

The frustration is rooted in the fact that there really isn't very much we 
can do about it. And until someone devises an alternative means of getting 
MD to your mailbox in less time then it takes a specialized parcel carrier, 
one questions whether it's worthwhile to lose any sleep over it. 

In the final anaylsis, it's a matter of what you value more. There are cer¬ 
tain advantages to subscribing, not least of which is your assurance of ob¬ 
taining a copy before your dealer runs out. And if you don't live near a 
shop which carries the magazine, then the home delivery route is the only 
way to go. However, if for some reason, you absolutely must have your 
copy before anyone else, then purchasing MD at your local music dealer 
may be the best answer for you. 

Though it's true, we occasionally tire of having to explain this to an irri¬ 
tated customer, it is somewhat flattering to realize we have readers who ob¬ 
viously wait with baited breath for each new issue to roll off the press. And 
really, there isn't a circulation problem big enough that could take away 
from the pleasure we pet out of that simple truth. 

% 


STAFF: 

EDITOR/PUBLISHER 

Ronald Spagnardi 
FEATURES EDITOR 
Rick Mattingly 
MANAGING EDITOR 
Scott Fish 

ASSOCIATE EDITORS 
Mark Hurley 
Paul Uldrich 
ART DIRECTOR 
David Creamer 
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR 

Taqr] |\yfq77q 

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR 

Isabel Spagnardi 

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER 
Ann Thompson 

DEALER SERVICE MANAGER 
Ellen Urry 
CIRCULATION 
Leo L. Spagnardi 
Robin De Paul 
Janet Gola 

SALES PROMOTION MANAGER 

Evelyn Urry 


MD ADVISORY BOARD 

Henry Adler, Carmine Appice, Horacee 
Arnold, Louie Bellson, Bill Bruford, Roy 
Burns, Jim Chapin, Billy Cobham, Les De 
Merle, Len DiMuzio, Charlie Donnelly, Saul 
Goodman, Danny Gottlieb, Sonny Igoe, 
Jaimoe Johanson, Jim Keltner, Don Lamond, 
Mel Lewis, Peter Magadini, George Marsh, 
Butch Miles, Joe Morello, Neil Peart, Charlie 
Perry, Charli Persip, Joe Pollard, Arthur Press, 
Paul Price, Paul Real, Paul T. Riddle, Ed 
Shaughnessy, Max Weinberg, Lenny White. 


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS 

Susan Alexander, Rich Baccaro, Robert Carr, 
Jim Dearing, Clint Dodd, Robyn Flans, Stanley 
Hall, Harold Howland, Dave Levine, Michael 
Rozek, Robin Tolleson, T. Bruce Wittet. 


MODERN DRUMMER Magazine (ISSN 0194- 
4533) is published monthly by Modern Drum¬ 
mer Publications, Inc., 1000 Clifton Avenue, 
Clifton, NJ. 07013. Second Class Postage paid 
at Clifton, N.J. 07015 and at additional mailing 
offices. Copyrighted 1982 by Modern Drummer 
Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Repro¬ 
duction without the permission of the publisher 
isprohibited. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $21.95per 
year, $39.95, two years. Single copies $2.25. 
MANUSCRIPTS : Modern Drummer welcomes 
manuscripts, however, cannot assume responsi¬ 
bility for them. Manuscripts must be accompa¬ 
nied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. 
CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Allow at least six 
weeks for a change. Please provide both old and 
new address. MUSIC DEALERS: Modern 
Drummer is available for resale at bulk rates. 
Direct correspondence to Modern Drummer 
Publications, Inc., 1000 Clifton Avenue, Clif¬ 
ton, N.J. 07013. (201) 778-1700. POSTMAS¬ 
TER: Send Address Changes to Modern Drum¬ 
mer, 1000 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, N.J. 07013. 


2 


NOVEMBER 


























f 



The Shadow Knows 


Bsmies 


Who knows what power and pulse lurks in the heart of a drummer . . . 

the Shadow knows. 

From the richness of the special ebony stain wood finish, to the depth and projection 
of the oversized Resonator shells, the Black Shadow is Premier quality personified. 
Get to know a Black Shadow set at your Premier dealer today. 

The Black Shadow 



FOR WORE INFORMATION SEND St.QO TO; PREMIER PERCUSSION. 105 FIFTH AVE,. GARDEN C1TV PARK, NY 11040 





I would like, if I may, to say a very BIG 
thank you, not only to four fantastic 
drummers, but four very thoughtful 
human beings: Steve Smith, Jeff Porcaro, 
Peter Erskine and Vince Colaiuta. They 
are pictured here with me while I was recu¬ 
perating from an appendicitis operation in 
Atlanta. I am very lucky to have friends 
like you. Once again, my sincerest thanks, 
and I hope to see all of you soon. 

ALAN CORNETT 
SILVER SPRINGS, MD 


Editor's note: We were intrigued when we 
saw this letter, so we asked Peter Erskine 
how this came about. He explained that 
they learned that Alan had come to 
Atlanta in the hopes ofhearing some of the 
drummers who were participating in the 
NAMM show. Unfortunately, Alan was 
struck with appendicitis upon his arrival in 
Atlanta, and was unable to attend any of 
the concerts. Jeff, Steve, Vinnie and Peter 
decided that if Alan couldn't come to see 
them, they would go to see him. Four very 
thoughtful human beings indeed! 


ROY BURNS 

I was pleased to read "Put-downs, Put- 
offs and Put-ons" by Roy Burns in your 
April issue. As a drummer/producer I face 
the same criticisms and more. I showed th e 
article to my wife who's a working singer/ 
actress. She was so impressed by it that she 
read it to all of her friends. I'd like to com¬ 
pliment Mr. Burns for his sensitivity as a 
great musician and human being! It shows 
that a positive person accomplishes posi¬ 
tive thines. 

JERRY "J.D."DeKRANIS 
BROOKLYN, N.Y. 


"PLAYING” SECTIONS 

A word of thanks for the "playing" sec¬ 
tions of MD: Strictly Technique, Rock 
Perspectives, Drum Soloist, etc. Coming 
from full-time playing and teaching to 
only part-time, MD keeps me up to date 
with new material. I'm now using the dif¬ 
ferent columns as extra material for my 
students. Also, a request for an interview 
with Vinnie Colaiuta. 

MARK SMITH 
MONONGALIELA, PA 


ROCK CHARTS 

In your July issue you have a transcrip¬ 
tion of The Police's song "Don't Stand So 
Close To Me" by James Morton. I've been 
searching for accurate rock transcriptions 
for some time now, and not only did I find 
this one exact, but also a pleasure to play. 

STEPHEN DONELAN 
AKRON,OH 

Your June issue was exceptional. I got 
my students involved with the Rock Charts 
and the results have been tremendous. 
Please continue with such material. My 
students and I thank you. 

DON PATE 
ROHNERTPARK,CA 


KUDO’S FOR DEARING 

I'd like to commend Jim Dearing for 
How To Mentally Prepare For Drumming 
(Aug./Sept. '82). I employed some of his 
techniques and found them very beneficial 
to myself and my band. I'd like to see more 
articles of this nature. 

JEROME A. ABRAHAM 
ATWATER, CA 


CHARLIE WATTS 

Your Charlie Watts interview was excel¬ 
lent. It proves that a good basic drummer 
can still survive in this all too technical 
world. Nothing against proficient, profes¬ 
sionally trained players. I'm just stating 
that ordinary, basic players deserve a little 
credit'also. 

STAN ZEMAN 
PITTSBURGH, PA 


TIME VS. FEEL 

Just a note to let you know that I felt 
Mark Van Dyck's article "Time Players 
vs. Feel Players" was excellent. It's defin¬ 
itely the best analysis I've read on rhythm 
sections. His thoughts were also conveyed 
in a direct and clear way; easy to under¬ 
stand and to the point. At any rate, I just 
wanted you to know that I thought the ar¬ 
ticle was great. 

ROY BURNS 
AQUARIAN ACCESSORIES CORP. 


M.D. PERFORMS 

I particularly like your balanced cover¬ 
age of different kinds of drummers, and 
the care and detail with which you allow 
them to express their feelings on their life 
and art. You are performing a service to 
drummers for which I feel a true measure 
of gratitude. There is one drummer, how¬ 
ever, I feel has exerted an enormous, al¬ 
though largely unrecognized, influence on 
modern drumming: Milford Graves. I 
know that his ideas and thoughts can be 
enormously beneficial to those trying to 
understand what the "new music" is all 
about. 

GREGORY PAI 
HONOLULU, HI 


’’THE JOBBING DRUMMER” 

I think your wonderful magazine should 
spend some time in evaluating the needs of 
the part-time drummer, in terms of equip¬ 
ment, styles, etc. I don't want to change 
the focus of your magazine, but just open 
it up to people like myself. 

SAM OSAKI 
CAMPBELL, CA 

Editor's Note: We've had more than one 
request of this type, and as a result, MD 
will soon debut "The Jobbing Drummer" 
department, specifically designed for the 
serious part- timer. 

continued on page 109 


4 


NOVEMBER 










































For Elvin Jones, it's nothing less than Tama 


Over the past 3 decades, Elvin Jones has emerged as 
one of the most influential drummers in modern jazz* His 
dedication to the pioneering spirit in music that is jazz, has 
been an inspiration to drummers of all ages. 

Elvin's years of experience both on the road and in the 
studio have made him more than aware of the problems a 
drummer can encounter with inferior equipment. That's 
why now, when it comes down to serious playing, Elvin 
settles for nothing less than the best — Tama. 


Dedication to crafting the finest quality drums possible 
has made Tama the first choice among pro's like Elvin, who 
really understand what it takes to get a good sound. 

Visit your Tama dealer for a first hand look at what 
quality craftsmanship is all about and don't settle for 
anything less! 


HTA/WA 

The Strongest Name in Drums 














Have a problem? A question? Ask MD. Address 
all questions to: Modern Drummer, c/o It's 
Questionable, 1000 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 
07013. Questions cannot be answered person¬ 
ally. 


Q. I'm planning to start building my own drum cases from wood. I 
wonder if you have any helpful hints on the best way to build 
them? 

T. L. 

A. Contributing writer Vince Gutman wrote an article called "Up¬ 
staging" in the April '81 issue ofMD. This article—which is too 
lengthy to cover in an It's Questionable answer—not only tells you 
the best way, it shows you. It's available in the MD Treasury "The 
Best of." 


Q. I play a lot of casuals and studio work. The big bulky hardware 
is sturdy and flashy, but is there a company that makes aluminum 
drum and cymbal stands? 

C. L. 

Buena Park, CA 

A. To the best of our knowledge, no one makes aluminum hard¬ 
ware. However, most drum companies offer a line of hardware 
that's lighter in construction and less expensive than the "bulky" 
hardware. We 're sure ifyou did a little research in this area you 'd 
find what you were looking for. 


Q. How can I contact my favorite drummer, Stewart Copeland? 

T. S. 
Trenton, N.J. 

A. You can write to Stewart in care ofMD. We'll forward your 
letter. 


Q. Are there any small cowbells that sound like large cowbells? 

H.E. 
Skokie, IL 

A. We asked Latin Percussion, Inc.. They said, "No. " The wide 
opening on a cowbell is what makes the deep sound. The depth of a 
cowbell will also alter the sound. In short, if you want a large cow¬ 
bell sound—you need a large cowbell. 


Q. Please advise me how to get books or help to get more finger 
control or wrist action. 

T. P. 

Union City, N.J. 

A. The best way to acquire more finger control and/or wrist action 
is to practice, preferably with a competent teacher. Joe Morello, 
Sonny Igoe and Henry Adler are three teachers in your area who 
could probably help you. Ifyou can't contact them on your own, 
you can write to them in care ofMD and we'llforwardyour letter. 


Q. I was wondering if an Evans Looking Glass head on the top and 
an Evans blue Hydraulic head on the bottom would be a good 
combination for 12", 13" and 14" toms? 

H. W. 

SevernaPark, MD 

A. Our experience has been that most drummers use the Evans 
heads on top with a thinner head—either coated or clear—on the 
bottom. Since the Evans heads are relatively dead-sounding in 
comparison, most drummers use the thinner heads to round out 
the tone of the toms. However, "sound" is a personal matter. You 
might try the combination you mentioned and find that it's exactly 
what you've been looking for. Perhaps you could try it on one tom 
before investing a lot of money in drum heads. 


Q. I've been searching all over for The Chinese Wand Exercise 
book by Bruce L. Johnson and have made no progress. The book 
was mentioned in the April '81 MD by reader Neal Speer as an 
excellent book for physical exercises to improve drum playing. 

R.P. 

Kingston, Ontario 

A. The Chinese Wand Exercise was published by William Morrow 
in Manhattan. We called them and were told that the book is out of 
print. Perhaps some of our readers know where to obtain copies. 
We'd be glad to pass the information along. 


Q. I heard that most studio musicians use a shorthand letter and 
number system to help them through a song, without reading the 
full sheet music. Does this system apply to drummers as well? 

J.E.M. 
Cincinnati, OH 


A. The numbering system refers to chords used in songs. Using a 
basicprogression, let's say a song was written in a twelve-bar blues 
format using the chords B-flat, B-flat seventh, E-flat, and F major 
This is referred to as a I - 4 - 5 progression. The B-flat is the tonic 
(I), the E-flat is the subdominant (4), and the F is the dominant 
chord (5). Instead of writing out all the chords in musical notation, 
a studio musician (drummers included) might see it written as 
shown below. If a drummer understood chordprogressions (which 
most studio drummers do), he would have no trouble following 
this pattern. Unless the producer or artist wanted a specific drum 
pattern orfill used, it would allow the drummer to create his own 
part as he followed along with the music. The lettering system re¬ 
fers to song structure. Using the most common 32-bar song struc¬ 
ture, the drummer might see AABA on a chart. He'd know that the 
first letter referred to the first eight bars, the second letter to the 
second eight bars, the third letter (B) to the bridge or release of the 
song, and the last letter would refer to the last eight bars. 


//// ■ 



I 

1 


6 


NGVFMBFR 

































TO REALLY HEAR CYMBALS, 

FIRST WU’VE 
GOT TO OPEN YOUR EYES. 


David Garibaldi 


"For years I played cym¬ 
bals without really thinking 
about what 1 was doing. 
Then my eyes were opened 
to the fact that a cymbal set 
is really an adventurous 
musical instrument 

By getting to know about 
cymbals, carefully selecting 
them and tuning my ear to 
their character, I became 
more in control of my play¬ 
ing and more confident as a 
musician. 

My cymbal set is an 
instrument that can 
express 


my conception of sound in a 
way no other can, and no 
other cymbals are as expres¬ 
sive as Paiste* The range of 
sound colors is astonishing- 
there's a fairly limitless 
choice of musical 
possibilities and 
combinations. 

Here's the 
Paiste set I'm currently 
playing-picked out from 
a Paiste Sound Center 
-not out of some 
"preferred 
custom¬ 
er" stock. 


They're expressive, they're 
consistent and they're great 
musical instruments," 

Visit a Paiste 
Sound Center. 
There's a 
wealth of en¬ 
lightenment 
and inspira¬ 
tion in the 
special sounds 
you'll find there. 
And for a short 
course in cymbal 
expertise, get 
your hands 
on the 


comprehensive 60-page 
Paiste Cymbal Manual and 
Profiles 3 book of set-ups 
and biographies of hundreds 
of top international drum¬ 
mers and percussionists. 

For your copies of the 
Paiste Cymbal Manual and 
Profiles 3 book, send $3.00 
to cover postage and handl¬ 
ing to: 

Paiste America, Inc 


460 Atlas Street, Brea, CA 92621 



CYMBALS SOUNDS GONGS 


























VINNIE 



A producer once told Vinnie Colaiuta 
that if you threw Tony Williams and Steve 
Gadd into a blender, Vinnie would be the 
tasteful concoction. He laughs modestly 
while he shrugs off the compliment, but it 
is probably an accurate description. Justi¬ 
fiably, he is the talk of the town and drum¬ 
mers pack into the L.A. club where he 
plays three nights a week. One drummer 
comments that Vinnie is the best drummer 
he's ever seen and another puts it simply, 
repeatedly exclaiming, "Monster!" 

Innovative, colorful and tasteful, Vince 
Colaiuta began, as did many, playing pots 
and pans while growing up in Pennsylva¬ 
nia. After graduating to toy sets with paper 
heads, his parents finally bought him a 
semi-professional Japanese set which he'd 
play with the neighborhood kids. 

There was never any doubt that his in¬ 
strument was the drums, even though he 
also had an electric guitar and took organ 
lessons. In fact, when he expressed the de¬ 
sire to play drums in the junior-high- 
school band, the band director informed 
Vinnie that there were too many drummers 
and he should take up another instrument. 
He played flute for a year until the drum¬ 
mer vacated the seat into which Vinnie 
slipped. Once the lessons began, Vinnie re¬ 
calls, "I couldn't get enough of it. I was 
real interested in music notation and rudi¬ 
ments and technique whereas a lot of guys 
didn't dig that stuff. I learned real fast be- 

Photo by Lissa Wales 

NOVEMBER 





COLAIUTA 



cause I was always practicing. I would go 
into English class and sit in the back of the 
room with a Remo practice pad and prac¬ 
tice double-stroke rolls and get kicked out 
of class.” 

When he finally got a good drumset at 
age fourteen, he was extremely grateful. " I 
was overjoyed when my parents bought me 
the set, because up to that point, I had only 
been studying on the snare drum. When I 
sat down at the set, though, for some rea¬ 
son I didn't have any problem. I just sat 
down and played, probably because of all 
those toy sets. Coordination didn't pose 
much of a problem until I started getting 
into the stage band and had to read drum 
parts with the foot and everything. When I 
first saw that, it was a trip reading drumset 
stuff—the hand, the hi-hat, the bass drum, 
independence and all of that—but I just 
went and practiced." Drum corps, sum¬ 
mer camps and a succession of lessons fol¬ 
lowed, and after finishing high school, he 
worked in local bands for a year before en¬ 
rolling in Berklee, a decision inspired by 
many of his classmates and a chance meet¬ 
ing with Berklee student Steve Smith, who 
came through town playing with a big 
band. 

"I wanted to gather as much informa¬ 
tion as possible. I thought it would give me 
the chance to polish everything before I 
went to step out. I knew it would be tough 
and I wanted to be ready for it. When I got 


out there, it was really good that I did that. 
I also wanted to learn more about music 
theory in a practical sense and anything 
that would help me in the most remote 
way, whether I was going to learn writing 
to use it to write or just to give me a differ¬ 
ent perspective to music. It really did make 
me listen to things differently and it gave 
me a different awareness. 

"When I got there, all I knew was the 
reputation that Berklee had and I didn't 
really know what to expect. My first day, 
orientation at 7:00 in the morning, there 
were 800 drummers and like 1500 guitar 
players; totally different from what I ex¬ 
pected. I was expecting big bands and see¬ 
ing Buddy Rich walking around picking 
like, 'I like this trombone player—wanna 
be in my band?' I just took my tests and 
placed in a bunch of classes, like beginning 
arranging, because I didn't know anything 
about that, and an ear training class. The 
writing department there was really great, 
except they have their own way of doing it 
which is unlike any other place. Like the 
way they teach you to arrange. They teach 
it to you with terminology that you don't 
use once you get out of that place. It's only 
a means to learn it, but it's an efficient 
means to cram it into you fast. In the two 
semesters that I went there, I learned how 
to arrange for six horns. I used it a couple 
of times until I said, 'I'm not going to do 
this. There are cats who do this for a living. 


I'm a player ' 

"After I completed a year there, I 
wanted to go back only for the writing, be¬ 
cause I was really getting into it, but I 
didn't have the money I passed out of the 
percussion department in one semester I 
studied with this guy named Gary Chaffee 
for two semesters, but the first semester I 
pretty much whizzed through everything 
that he had He was a wonderful teacher 
and the greatest guy and he had a really 
great method The whole school adopted 
his method He was doing things like ap¬ 
plying polyrhythms to the drumset He 
had a certain manner of teaching indepen¬ 
dence by getting into funk drumming, 
Tower of Power stuff, and weird group¬ 
ings that were really cool He would show 
you how it was broken down and rhythmi¬ 
cally what it's based on It was real inter¬ 
esting and he had it planned out real intelli¬ 
gently There were all these Chaffee clones 
running around because he really had it to¬ 
gether and everybody was using his 
method So I went through that the first 
semester By the time the second semester 
rolled around, the drum lessons turned 
into a scene where I would go in there and 
Gary and I would put on a Tony Williams 
record and listen to it and sit down and 
play things together and just rap Then 
Smitty [Steve Smith] and I took group les¬ 
sons for the second half of the semester 
We'd just go in and play and have a good 


NOVEMBER 1982 


9 








. . YOU HAVE TO KEEP 
UP WITH HIM [ZAPPA]. 
THERE f S SO MUCH 
INFORMATION AND 
KNOWLEDGE COMING 
OUT OF HIM SO FAST 
THAT YOU HAVE TO BE 
ON YOUR TOES EVERY 
SECOND. ITS INCREDI¬ 
BLE.” 



"I DON'T THINK 
OF MYSELF AS A 
SESSION PLAYER, 
AS MUCH AS I 
LIKE TO THINK OF 
MYSELF AS A 
MUSICIAN WHO 
HAPPENS TO 
PLAY DRUMS.” 



time and it was a gas. Then Chaffee said to 
me, 'Man, why don't you just move to 
New York when the school year is over?' 
He felt I was at the point where I should 
just get out there but I told him I wanted to 
come back and do more writing and stuff. 
Finally I realized that I was going to be a 
player. I couldn't get the money to go back 
to school anyway, so I just hung around 
Boston for a couple of years. There were a 
lot of good players there. I was playing 
these top-40 gigs to survive. I wanted to do 
the jazz gigs, but there was no money in the 
jazz gigs." 

During those two years he also worked 
with a band which hooked up with A1 
Kooper. After going on the road with 
Kooper, he offered to produce the rhythm 
section. Recalling his first major recording 
experience, Vinnie laughs, "I didn't know 
anything about getting a drum sound or 
anything. I was just into playing. Getting a 
good track was something I had no con¬ 
cept of. I wanted to play for the tune and 
just play. Kooper would say, 'Well, save 
that for your first solo album, okay?" My 
drums sounded like shit, but I was having a 
good time. I learned a lot from doing that, 
though. There were probably a lot of peo¬ 
ple who had never been in a studio before 
and didn't know how to get a drum sound, 
but when they went in, people hipped them 
to it real fast. What happened with me was 
that I didn't know anything about it when I 


got in there. But they didn't say, 'Well, 
change your head. We're not going to get a 
good sound with these heads.' It wasn't 
anything like that. They just took the 
drums that I had and I think they might 
have said something like, 'Could you tune 
this a little different?' The producer came 
out and hipped me to some things like tap¬ 
ing the snare drum up. Eventually I ended 
up getting a liveable drum sound, but now 
when I listen back to it in perspective, it 
was horrible. On the other hand, you can 
go into a studio even if you have had studio 
experience and still get a lousy drum 
sound, so you never know. I've been in stu¬ 
dios in New York where they've had the 
worst set of drums in there. The engineer 
messes around with it a little on the board, 
puts some tape on it and bingo, ten min¬ 
utes later you can't believe he got that 
sound out of those drums. Sometimes 
you'll go into a studio out here with a great 
set of drums, and the guy starts giving you 
a hard time about it, so you still never 
know." 

After returning to Boston, Vinnie fi¬ 
nally made the decision to move to L.A. 
permanently in January, 1978. A few 
months of rough times followed until 
April, 1978, while doing a gig with Tom 
Fowler. Fowler mentioned that Frank 
Zappa was looking for a rhythm section. 

VC: I had always been a big fan of Zappa's 


and had every record. In fact, I had just 
bought Live in New York and loved it. It 
was funny and it was musically great. The 
irony is that I called the office and bugged 
the hell out of them, asking if I could bring 
a tape by. They said, "No tapes," but I 
dropped one by anyway. I'd go there every 
day until one day they called and said, 
"Alright, Mr. Zappa will listen to you 
Wednesday night." My heart dropped and 
I literally sank to the floor. I was so happy, 
not just at the prospect of a gig, but be¬ 
cause it was himl 
RF: What was the audition like? 

VC: I just went in there with the attitude 
that I was going to shoot my shot and was 
not going to get real uptight because it was 
Frank Zappa. I would just go for it. This 
was it and I was going to put it all forward. 
I went there and was watching these people 
audition. The average time they lasted was 
like fifteen seconds. 

RF: Why do you think they weren't cutting 
it? What was lacking? 

VC: It seemed as though they just couldn't 
go through with what Frank wanted out of 
a musician. Frank would put this music in 
front of you that was ridiculously difficult, 
like equally on par with 20th-century com¬ 
positional kind of stuff, and rhythmically 
it was incredible. These guys would sit 
there and they could play grooves but they 
couldn't read or vice versa. He looks for a 
special combination of elements in a per- 


10 


NOVEMBER 





Photo by Lissa Wales 



son and I guess they weren't there. 

I auditioned on Bozzio's drums. I had 
never played on two bass drums, but I said, 
"Screw it—I'm going for it!" He put this 
thing in front of me, "Pedro's Dowry," 
and it was the melodic part that I had to 
sight read in unison with the marimba. So I 
sight read a little bit of that. I just had to 
concentrate on it completely, and to my 
surprise, I didn't make any mistakes. He 
was about to give me "The Black Page." I 
had tried my hand at transcribing it, so I 
had it memorized and before he gave me 
the music, I started playing it. I got about 
two-thirds through it and I guess he had 
heard enough because he said, "Okay, yes, 
you can read." Then he started playing 
this thing in 21/16 and he wanted me to 
play along. I grasped it; it was all subdi¬ 
vided in threes and twos. Then he told me 
to take a solo, so I played on it. Then he 
came back in and played and said, "Okay, 
that's enough of that." He started throw¬ 
ing tune after tune and we went through 
about four tunes. The whole thing lasted 
about fifteen minutes, which was like a re¬ 
cord. Then he pulled me aside and asked 
me when I could start. I turned white and 
said, "Anytime." And that was it. That 
bailed me out of my whole living and fi¬ 
nancial situation. 

RF: Terry Bozzio said he almost felt at 
times that Zappa would write these ridicu¬ 
lously difficult things to taunt his players 


to see if they could actually do what he'd 
written. Although I'm sure some of what 
Bozzio said was tongue-in-cheek, how do 
you feel about that? 

VC: I've seen situations like that where 
I've pondered the same thing. But I don't 
doubt the sheer musicality of it for one sec¬ 
ond. I think it's brilliant and as far as I'm 
concerned, Frank is one of the most gifted 
composers of all time. I don't think he's 
been duly recognized as such. 

RF: You played double bass with Zappa? 
VC: Here's what happened. When I 
started with Frank, for the first two tours, 
I had this little Gretsch set with one 20" 
bass drum and he loved it. But after a 
while, I wanted to go out and get a bigger 
bass drum, a 22" or something. He said, 
"No, I'll make it sound good." So he went 
out and got a lot of outboard gear and 
made it sound good. He just loved the idea 
of this little set I was playing. I sat like two 
inches off the ground and he kind of liked 
the concept of where I was coming from. I 
guess he wanted to get into a different ap¬ 
proach, drumwise. Finally, on the last tour 
I told him I wanted to play two bass drums. 
He said, "No, because we'd have to leave 
one mic' open all the time and there would 
be problems acoustically." But finally I 
convinced him and just took them on the 
gig. I didn't really practice on them, but 
when you rehearse a tour with Frank, you 
rehearse for like two months, eight hours a 


day, before you go out. So I got a chance to 
get used to them in rehearsals. But it took a 
while. We went on the road for three 
months or something, and by the middle of 
the tour, they started feeling good. 

RF: With two bass drums, the question in¬ 
variably comes up as to the utilization of 
the second bass at the expense of the hi- 
hat. Can you describe your approach? 

VC: My approach differed as time went 
on. I wanted to play two bass drums, but I 
just wanted to play them as a supplement, 
to add some bottom heavy color, and it did 
do that. Sometimes I'd play them in unison 
and it was an effective thing to use on so¬ 
los, just independence-wise. It developed 
that kind of strength and technique in my 
left foot and that was good and it makes it 
sound real big. It's funny, because my 
whole equipment scene evolved to a point 
with Frank where at the end of the time I 
was with him, I had two bass drums, I had 
a Synare electronic bass drum in the mid¬ 
dle of those two drums, a real snare, a Syn¬ 
are snare, timbales, four Syndrums, five 
Synare tympani, tom-toms, Roto-toms, 
the two cymbals on top of one another, 
and one of those splash cymbals that is cut 
out of a hi-hat so it sounded real thick. I 
was starting to think of it more like all 
these sound varities to the point where I'd 
come up with grooves that you wouldn't 
normally do on a hi-hat and one bass 
continued on page 46 


NOVEMBER 1982 


11 













Photo by Laura Friedman 


Born in the Bronx in 1943, Barry first became involved with 
drums at the age of eleven. After the usual amount of practice, 
jamming, freelance gigs and lessons (with Charli Per sip), Barry 
happened to meet Paul Bley, and was invited to play. This was 
1964, and Barry continued playing with Bley until 1970. During 
this time he also studied with Sam Ulano and did a variety of re¬ 
cordings as a Sideman. AltschuTs next major association was with 
the collective group Circle, which featured Dave Holland, An¬ 
thony Braxton and Chick Corea. The group was together two years 
and was considered very influential. For the next few years, Barry 
played with the Anthony Braxton Quartet, as well as, the Sam 
Rivers Trio. 

After leaving Rivers, Altschul decided to follow his own path, 
and became a bandleader;first with a quartet, then with a trio. For 
the past four years, the trio, called Brahma, has featured the same 
personnel: Altschul, trombonist Ray Anderson, and bassist Mark 
Helias. They have managed to work consistently throughout the 
years, and have released a number of albums under Barry's name. 
Their music covers a wide range of influences, from Dixieland to 
avant-garde, in such a way that it is all blended together to form a 
cohesive whole, with an emphasis on improvisation. 

RM: I've heard you express the philosophy that concept must 
come before technique. Would you elaborate on that? 

BA: When people first start playing, it's because they want to play 
to a music they hear. So kids pick up some drumsticks, get their 
little tin-can drumset together, and start playing something with no 
technique before they start learning anything. Already, there's 
some kind of a concept—they hear something that they want to 
play. Now from that point, yes, I believe that one should learn 
certain basics of the instrument. There's a certain common lan¬ 
guage that one must learn in order to get these things out. But just 
learning technical aspects of drumming does not make music. I 
consider myself a musician first, whose instrument is the drums. So 
when I started practicing years ago, it was like I heard something 
and tried to play it. I couldn't, so then I searched for how to play it. 
By finding out how to play it, you run across whatever technique is 
needed to play this thing. Usually this technique is one that every¬ 
body knows; it's a standard technique. But if you were to just learn 
all of the standard techniques, and you don't have a conception, 
then you can't use what you have. 

So what I think is, if you hear something to play and can't play 
it, then you sit down and practice to develop the technique to play 
what you hear. The more you learn to hear, the more technique 
you find to play it. So I feel the concept stimulates the technique to 
play the music. I don't feel technique stimulates a concept. I don't 
feel that just learning technical aspects of the instrument will help 
you learn to improvise, or help you learn to swing, or help you do 
any of that. To me, the technique is the easiest part of the music. It 
just takes practice—the more you practice, the more technical you 
become. But that doesn't necessarily mean that what you play will 
be musical. I mean, I know some great "drum-pad drummers," as 
I call them. But when you put them with a band, they don't really 
make music. 

RM: So if people naturally start out with some kind of concept, 
why do so many get sidetracked and become hung up with tech¬ 
nique? 

BA: That's a very interesting question. I think it has to do with 
many, many aspects of one's life. It depends on their creative 
goals; what they want to achieve as a musician; what kind of con¬ 
tribution, if any, they want to make, or if they just want to use 
music as their job to make money. It could be the psychology of the 
person—what they're made to feel is important in their environ¬ 
ment. In the Western environment, technique is the tool; it's not 
the end. It's just the means to get to a place; it's not the place you 


arrive at. So I think many people get caught in the theory that if 
they become great technicians, they will be great musicians. They 
do go hand in hand—you do need technique, and nowadays you 
need more technique than ever before because of all the different 
things a drummer is called upon to do. 

RM: I wonder if a lot of the fault is with teachers who do nothing 
other than teach techniques. 

BA: It is the responsibility of the teacher to stimulate the student 
into what it's really like to be a musician, rather than just give that 
particular side of it. I studied with two teachers. One was strictly to 
learn to read, and he was great for that—Sam Ulano. I knew what 
he was going to give me when I went to him, and that's what I 
wanted. And that was later; I was in my twenties when I felt I really 
needed to get into some serious reading studies. When I was seven¬ 
teen years old, I studied with Charli Persip. I studied with him 
formally, and other times we just hung out. He really put the idea 
of playing music into my concept. It wasn't about technique. I 
credit him with putting me on the track of using technique to get 
your ideas out. "Play what you hear, and if you can't play it, then 
practice it." It was great advice. 

RM: What are some of the things a teacher can do to help a student 
learn more than just technique? 

BA: Helping another person to play music involves more than 
technique and reading. It involves things like what to listen to, 
different approaches to music, how you feel with yourself, what 
it's like on a bandstand playing with other people, what the busi¬ 
ness is like, what the frustrations are like, and all those kinds of 
things. Through the years I've developed an eleven-step form that I 
deal with when I teach, which gets into all of these areas. Plus, 
there are a couple of things on the form that leave room for what 
the student wants to do. There's always a time in the lesson where I 
say, "Okay, what are you dealing with in your life, playing with 
friends or whatever, and what are your problems?" I do that every 
lesson. I always make it clear to my students that I am just giving 
them me, and whatever I feel is important for them. But I tell them 
if I'm not doing something they feel is important, to bring it up. If I 
know about it, we get into it. If I don't know about it, then they 
turn me on. I don't really teach a concept perse; then I would just 
be sitting someone down and teaching them my licks—how I ap¬ 
proach these things. Instead, I try to make them find their own 
approach. They will come in and say, "I heard this and tried to do 
it, but it just didn't work." Then I say, "Well, let me see what 
you're doing." We talk about it and I see where I can help them 



ALTSCHUL 


NOVEMBER 1982 


by Rick Mattingly 

13 





"A LOT OF THE SERIOUS STUDY 
THAT’S BEEN GOING ON FOR 
YEARS WITHIN THE EVOLUTION 
OF THE DRUMS IS BEING DISRE¬ 
GARDED. IT SHOULD BE THE 
OPPOSITE WAY. EVERYTHING 
THAT HAS BEEN DONE SHOULD 
BE USED, AND EVERYONE 
SHOULD BE THINKING UP NEW 
THINGS TO USE IN ADDITION TO 
WHAT’S ALREADY AVAILABLE. ” 



technically or whatever, and we deal with it like that. But each 
student is different. I don't teach the same thing to each student. 
Each student is on a different level and should be approached indi¬ 
vidually. 

I enjoy teaching. It's a responsibility that I feel is an important 
one. I feel a lot is being lost; a lot is being forgotten about; a lot is 
not being done anymore. I feel that people who know about certain 
things should keep those things alive. For example, jazz, American 
improvisational music, is an oral tradition. It was learned by being 
passed on. There was a lot there; a lot was discovered, a lot is still 
being discovered, and I believe that people who are involved in that 
should keep passing it on. Otherwise, it will become a dying thing. 
What's being done now with the drums is more geared towards 
money making. I think a lot of the individuality in drumming is 
being forgotten. People are thinking, "Steve Gadd is doing this, 
and he's doing it very well, and he's making a lot of money, so 
that's what I will do." With my teaching, I'm into the students 
finding their own individual ways ofplaying. That's what turns me 
on. 

RM: I've heard successful musicians talk about the encouragement 
they received, and how much it helped them. I've heard other suc¬ 
cessful musicians talk of receiving discouragement from others, 
but they said that helped them too because it made them try harder. 
BA: That's right, and that's probably why, subconsciously, those 
things are done—to get you ready for the real world. When I was 
young, I was actually kicked offthe bandstand several times. But it 
wasn't discouraging because it was done in such a way where they 
would say ". . . and come back when you can play." It wasn't 
like, "Get outta here and never come back." It was like, "You 
ain't makin' it now, but if you're serious, go home and practice. 
When you think you've got it together, come back and we'll see 
what's happening." So you go home and you either give up or you 
practice. That happened to me a few times. Of course, at the time, 
it was shattering. But looking back on it, it was great. It was hon¬ 
esty, that's all. I felt I was ready to play with these people, but I 
wasn't. 

RM: Do you think there can be such a thing as too much encour¬ 
agement? 

BA: Well, not too much encouragement, no. I feel there can be too 
much praise from an audience. That might turn someone's head. I 
feel praise from your peers is more honest. Also, criticism from 
your peers is not anything but them trying to help. But with an 
audience, if they tell you that you were playing great, you know 
yourself if you were happening or not. You have to be honest with 
yourself and look at it in perspective. 

RM: You are involved in a lot of "free" music. I'm reminded of 
the saying, "You have to know the rules before you can break 
them." 

BA: Yeah, I can agree with that. I could also see another approach 
of starting without any rules and then learning them afterwards. 
RM: What was your approach? You talked earlier about the im¬ 


portance of carrying on a tradition. 

BA: For me personally, yes, I've been very involved in the tradition 
of the instrument, and my study has included Dixieland, swing, 
bebop, into freer playing. And every few years I go back into the 
woodshed and start from the beginning, re-educating myself in all 
those areas and in whatever other areas I happen to be turned on to 
that are new for me. So yeah, I believe in learning what the drums 
have been in music. And then, if you want to expand the role, and 
you have the talent to do it, you can. You should do it if you have 
the talent. It's part of the responsibility of passing on and extend¬ 
ing the tradition. I myself feel that I come from the tradition of 
what's commonly termed the "jazz drummer." I'm very steeped in 
those roots. 

RM: Some contend that learning tradition will taint the ability to 
truly play free. 

BA: Yeah, but eventually everybody has to learn the same things 
about their instrument. Everybody has to know what makes the 
instrument work, and what the things are that get the sounds, and 
whatever else. It's a pretty standardized thing. 

RM: I guess for a really pure approach, the person would have to 
have absolutely no influences, if such a thing is possible. 

BA: Probably, but influences are good. I mean, imitation is how 
we learn. When children are learning how to talk, they imitate their 
parents until they learn the words and learn how to think for them¬ 
selves. Then they come out with their own ideas. I think it's the 
same thing with music—with improvisational music anyway. 
There are certain influences, certain things that appeal to you, that 
you copy until you learn those things. Then you start to make your 
changes and deal with them in your own way; sometimes to the 
point of changing them completely. I mean, the innovators in mu¬ 
sic all got things from their predecessors, and then changed them to 
the point to where they became innovations. Elvin Jones, for ex¬ 
ample, was very influenced by Max Roach, and then he changed it 
to a point that became a new basis for playing. Tony Williams 
came out of people like Roy Haynes, Alan Dawson and Art Bla- 
key, and then found his own way of doing things that became an- 




other standard. Most of the people who contribute to the role of an 
instrument, I feel, come out of what went on before them. 

RM: How valid is it for an aspiring musician to just focus on one 
thing? Let's say he wants to play bebop, so that's all he listens to. 
BA: Well, you might be individual, but you will probably be lim¬ 
ited. You will only be individual in this one form of expression. But 
then, bebop is a wide area of music in itself. If you really do just 
listen to bebop, you also, through assimilation, listen to all of the 
things that have influenced bebop. Maybe you don't know that 
Max was influenced by Jo Jones or Sid Catlett, but through Max, 
you get the influence of those other people. When you listen to 
Dizzy, you get a lot of Latin influence. And then the blues have 
always been closely related to jazz, so bebop has that in it. I guess if 
somebody really did just listen to bebop, that could still be pretty 
positive. 

RM: What about people who refuse to acknowledge anything past 
Coltrane? 

BA: Well, in the '40s and '50s, Charlie Parker had a very hard 
time. People were listening to Lester Young and Coleman 
Hawkins; they didn't want to hear Charlie Parker. It's taken thirty 
or forty years after the fact for it to really be accepted. That seems 
to be the case with all music that's pretty much improvised. It's 
realized for what it is twenty, thirty, forty years after the fact. I 
guess that's human nature to a degree. I mean, it's been going on 
forever. Something new or something different has always been 
frowned upon. It had to prove itself, and that can take many, 
many years. Prove itself for what, I don't know. But the fact is, if 
someone comes up with something new and says, "Here's an ap¬ 
proach—let's check it out; let's play it," it gets pounced upon. It 
gets put down, the people who are doing it get insulted, and all they 
are doing is what they are supposed to do: playing their instru¬ 
ments and trying to develop something. Look at technology—it's 
been developed to the point where the world could be destroyed in 
seconds, and yet they are still trying to develop it even more. But 
nobody pounces on that the way they pounce on artists who put 
something out that shakes people one way or another. I think 
that's totally ridiculous. I think there's room for everything. 

You know, in Europe, there's the same audience for all types of 
music. You can have a punk-rock group, or an avant-garde group, 
or a classical Indian group, or anything, and the same audience will 
come because the radio stations play all the music. There are very 
few specialty shows. One tune will be a rock tune, the next tune will 
be bebop, another tune will be free, then there will be some classi¬ 
cal music—you just turn on the radio and hear everything. So 
there's not the same prejudice against style. There are likes and 
dislikes, but all of what's offered is at least accepted. 

RM: In America, everyone and everything has to compete. 

BA: Well, there has to be something to make you want to develop, 
and I guess in the West, competition is where it's at. 

RM: The trouble with that is, a lot of people approach competition 
by trying to tear down others rather than by building themselves 
up. 

BA: Well, then they're not truly developing. I think competition 
stops at a certain level. It stops when one has it together; when one 
can play. When we were all younger, maybe it was about competi¬ 
tion because that's what stimulated each one of us. "I've gotta go 



Photo by 
Laura Friedman 

"IF YOU HEAR SOME¬ 
THING TO PLAY AND 
CAN’T PLAY IT, THEN 
YOU SIT DOWN AND 
PRACTICE TO DEVELOP 
THE TECHNIQUE TO 
PLAY WHAT YOU HEAR. 
THE MORE YOU LEARN 
TO HEAR, THE MORE 
TECHNIQUE YOU FIND 
TO PLAY IT." 


home and practice so I can do what he's doing." It was just to 
become better at what you were trying to do. Then you reach a 
certain level and it's no more, "Who's best?" We're all playing— 
this is the way he's playing, and this is the way I'm playing, and if 
you want my style you can call me and if you want his style, call 
him. We've each created an individual style for ourselves. Once 
you're on a certain level of playing, it's not better or worse—it's 
different. So let's enjoy everybody's style. 

RM: I see a problem with listeners more than musicians. They feel 
that they have to pick their favorite. 

BA: Well, a lot of that has to do with the media and how people are 
made to think a certain way. You are bombarded by a certain kind 
of music, so that might have something to do with it. Also, the 
media is geared for what is making money, so that is what you are 
bombarded with. The people who are into jazz become very dog¬ 
matic because there is so little of it that that's all they want to hear. 
RM: It seems to be a circle sometimes. The audiences are trained by 
the media to like certain things, and so the audience demands those 
things from the musicians. 

BA: To me, the audience shouldn't control what I give them. 
Sometimes it's difficult. In certain musics, the audience is coming 
to you to hear what they heard on the record. So if they are into it, 
you have to give that to them or you won't be successful. For me, I 
want the audience to enjoy the music, and we're doing whatever we 
can to make the audience enjoy it. But initially, I hope they enjoy 
what we, the band, want to give them. There's a certain responsi¬ 
bility of showing people things, and letting them have a choice. But 
some musicians don't really show anything other than what they're 
told to show. They might become successful, but as soon as the 
audience outgrows them, they're not successful anymore. 

RM: Would you say that getting an audience to accept what you're 
doing involves communicating with them, rather than just to 
them? 

BA: That's right. I've found that when you're in communication 
with an audience, you can pretty much do what you want and 
they'll be there with you. When you're on a stage, you are dealing 
not only with your own energy, but you also have all of this energy 
in the audience that's being fed to you, that you can use. And they 
recognize when you are using their energy. When they react to 
something you do, and you feel their reaction, it stimulates you 
and you give more. It becomes one big energy, and I guess spiritu¬ 
ally, that's a place that people talk about getting to. It's where all is 
one. You put the music out there, the audience comes up to the 
music, and you all meet where the music is. It becomes this big 
mass of energy that the music is actually in control of. 

I once played a concert in Italy with Sam Rivers, and there must 
have been 15,000 people, or something like that. We ended the 
concert on a very high energy level. We felt we were finished, but 
the audience wasn't finished yet. The promoter of the concert came 
running backstage: "You've gotta come back out. They're starting 
to rip up the seats!" So we went back up and played something very 
soft and peaceful. It cooled the audience right down and we left the 
stage. So the power of the music to change people's emotions is 
very strong. 

That's the place where everybody meets. You affect them and, in 
turn, they affect you. And hopefully, when people walk away, no 
matter what you put on them, everybody has a good feeling. The 
musicians come off and say, "Yeah, that felt good," and the audi¬ 
ence also walks away saying, "Yeah, that felt good." Some of it 
could even be hard to listen to, in the sense that dissonance and 
arhythmical patterns sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. 
But if you deal with it in certain ways—tension and release, tension 
and release—everybody walks away feeling good. And they heard 
something that they wouldn't ordinarily have heard, because you 
didn't just bombard them with the same thing for an hour. 

RM: You need to build bridges, in a sense, to help them get to new 
places. 

BA: Right. You play something where they can lay back and 
groove. Then you lay something on them where they can still 
groove, but they also have something to think about. Then you 
come back to where they don't have to think; they can just groove. 
By doing that, they'll walk away and think about that little thing 
you made them think about, and not feel bad about it. And a lot of 

continued on page 64 

15 





The 


Final 


Chapter 

® by Scott Fish 

The 70s were a drummers smorgasbord. You could have as 
many drummers as you wanted and as much of a variety as you 
wanted. It seemed like rock and roll branched off into hard rock, 
heavy metal, jazz rock, country rock, soft rock, disco, soul, r&b, 
pop, art rock, punk rock, new wave . . . nothing was simple any¬ 
more. The boundaries between popular music, classical and jazz 
were broken down, but it was as if the boundaries had been made 
of mercury. They scattered all over the place. 

In 1969 an album was released called The Allman Brothers 
Band. The Allman Brothers were a hard rocking band who had the 
ability to improvise like jazz musicans. The band showcased the 
talents of Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson—a dual-drummer 
combination who were like Mutt and Jeff. Butch's background 
was rock and roll with a twist of classical music. Jaimoe was also 
out of the rock and roll tradition with heavy jazz influences. When 
they played, Butch was like a D-9 bulldozer and Jaimoe was like 


dynamite, exploding here and there. 

The band cranked out several classic rock albums, but perhaps 
the best was The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East in mid - 
71. This is a brilliant live album that captured the drive and im¬ 
provisatory skills of each of the band members. The Allman 
Brothers Band suffered the loss of two key band members, Duane 
Allman and Berry Oakley, early on. After a couple of reforma¬ 
tions, Jaimoe finally called it quits in '81 and went on to pursue a 
solo career. Drummer Frank Toler took his place alongside Butch 
Trucks. Butch and Jaimoe became role models for a whole string 
of "country/rock" bands who were to follow. 

On Time hit the record stores in 1969. That album was the begin¬ 
ning of the phenomenal success of Grand Funk Railroad, a power 
trio (until 72 when Craig Frost was added on keyboards) that had 
the rare distinction of disgusting critics and journalists for years, 
while at the same time delighting fans and knocking out one gold 
album after the next. Drummer Don Brewer played solid rock and 
arguably had the ability to play convincing solos. The group dis¬ 
banded in 1976 after their final album GoodSingin’ Good Playin', 
which was produced by Frank Zappa. 

1969 was the year Jethro Tull released a brilliant album called 
Stand Up. Tull's music was originally a blend of blues and jazz, 
and Clive Bunker was on drums. Bunker played incredibly well; an 
authoritative player who could play solid backbeats, had the abil¬ 
ity to solo and improvise, and was extremely colorful. Bunker left 
in 1971 after the release of Aqualung. In 1972 the "self-taught" 
Barriemore Barlow took over the drum chair for almost the next 
ten years. "Since that departure," he said, "I've been involved 
with various experimental units, working with musicians of the 
highest calibre. The new outlook is very refreshing." 

King Crimson, another band that received tremendous acclaim 
and was the launch pad for other great bands, actually culminated 
in '68 with guitarist Robert Fripp and percussionist Michael Giles. 
Giles had had more than eighteen years playing experience by this 
time, yet he was only twenty-six years old. He began playing in '54 
in jazz and skiffle bands, and during the '60s he traveled through¬ 
out Europe with several bands and was also a very active studio 
drummer. 

In The Court of the Crimson King became one of the best sellers 
of 1969, and the follow up album, In the Wake of Poseidon, sold 
as well. By 1972, Giles had left the band and his position was taken 
overby Bill Bruford. Giles has remained off the scene for too many 
years. His name keeps popping up as being a significant influence 
on many of the best drummers in rock music today. 

Bill Bruford debuted in 1969 with Yes, a drummer who ". . . is 
very rarely content to just play a straight beat. He usually figures in 
with the whole rhythm of the song and the bass player a lot." 
Bruford usually played the unexpected, and even his drumsets 
were unique and everchanging. In 1979 he told MD correspondent 
Michael Shore, "In Europe and England there's a looser attitude 
toward the set-up. One might start out with a marimba and a snare 
drum. It's a much healthier attitude. If the rest of the world is . . . 
on a conventional kit, you sound that much more unique. I'm a 
rock drummer but I don't like most rock drummers. They tune the 


16 


NOVEMBER 











heads slack. They plod and are unimaginative. I lovejazz. My style 
is in the grey area between rock and jazz.” 

Bruford left Yes after the Close To The Edge album and was 
with King Crimson until that band broke up in '74. After playing 
with Gong and Genesis for a short spell, Bruford recorded four 
solo albums on Polydor records: Feels Good To Me, One Of A 
Kind, The Bruford Tapes and Gradually Going Tornado, which 
are all out of print! (Readers can write letters of protest to Poly¬ 
dor.) As of '82, Bill is back with a reformed King Crimson and 
continues to be a pioneer, particularly in the electronic percussion 
field. 

Santana was the first rock band to incorporate Latin music. The 
original percussion section consisted of Mike Carrabello on congas 
and Jose "Chepito" Areas (apoll-winningpercussionist inCentral 
America) and seventeen-year-old Mike Shrieve on drums. The 
band's appearance at the Woodstock Festival catapulted them to 
stardom. Shrieve was a fiery player with a lot of chops and a lot of 
taste. He has credited Chepito as being a tremendous aid in his 
understanding of Latin rhythms. Shrieve left the band in 1977 and 
had a band called Automatic Man and then Go with Steve Win- 
wood and Japanese percussionist/composer Stomu Yamashta. Go 
released three albums, including one live package, all of which 
have a tremendous amount of energy and creativity. Shrieve is bril¬ 
liant on these albums. I interviewed Mike in 1979 while he was 
forming a band called Patterns, that disbanded. In 1982 he formed 
Novo Combo, one of the better new bands to emerge in the last few 
years. 

Alice Cooper became a success in 1970 with the release of Love It 
' To Death. The drummer was Neal Smith and the band was mainly 
noted for it's gruesome theatrics. The original band broke up in 
1974 and Whitely Gians played for Alice Cooper, while Neal Smith 
formed a band called Billion Dollar Babies with three of the ex- 
Cooper members. 

ZZ Top blew in from Texas with drummer Frank Beard. This 
trio played the blues and rocked it up quite a bit. 

Neil Young started releasing a bunch of good rock and roll after 
he left Buffalo Springfield. He worked with a band called Crazy 
Horse which had Ralph Molina on drums and had two hits with 
"Cowgirl In The Sand" and "Down By The River." In 1970 he 
joined the existing Crosby, Stills & Nash and they released Deja Vu 
with Dallas Taylor handling the drumming. Perhaps his biggest 
selling album was Harvest in 1972 with some excellent rock drum- 
ing by sessionman Kenny Buttrey. 

Several singer/songwriters became incredibly popular through¬ 
out the '70s, supported by the talented drumming of Russ Kunkel. 
Russ played on James Taylor's second album, Sweet Baby James, 
which had a single called "Fire And Rain." Kunkel used brushes 
on the record in a non-traditional manner. He played the brushes 
as if they were sticks and he got a tremendous sound out of the 
drums. "Fire And Rain" was the forerunner to Carol King's al¬ 
bums (she played piano on Sweet Baby James) like Tapestry, one 
of the best selling rock records in history. 

Russ Kunkel is extremely important in the history of rock. He 
went on to record almost all of Taylor's records and he also 


PART V 

worked with Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne among many, 
many others. 

Studio great Hal Blaine was being kept busy in the studio and on 
the road, particularly with John Denver. In 1971 Denver's hit 
"Take Me Home Country Roads" catapulted him to superstar¬ 
dom. 

California gave us one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever 
with Little Feat in 1969. Little Feat was the first lp, followed by 
Sailin' Shoes, Dixie Chicken, Feats Don't Fail Me Now, The Last 
Record Album, Time Loves A Hero and an excellent live album 
with the Tower of Power Horns called Waiting For Columbus. 

Richie Hayward drove this band through it's tumultuous tunes 
without mercy. Basically a self-taught drummer who used to listen 
to a lot of jazz records, Hayward was one of those drummers who 
do almost everything wrong (if you're going by the book) but has 
created one of the few original styles in rock drumming. For some 
reason, despite great critical acclaim for their albums, their live 
performances and their individual abilities as musicians, Little 
Feat was like the Wright Brother's plane. It would get off the 
ground for a short time and then it would come back down again. 
Such was the career of this band. Chief songwriter Lowell George 
died in 1980 and the band dissolved for a while. In 1981, Paul 
Barrere took all the existing members, except keyboardist Bill 


NOVEMBER 1982 


17 












Photo by Laura f rtedman 



Payne, and did some dates. But as far as rock drumming is 
concerned—they don't come much better than Richie Hayward. 

Genesis was formed by Peter Gabriel, who was playing drums 
for the band originally. John Mayhew took over the drum chair 
and recorded the band's first album in '69, called From Genesis To 
Revelation, which was not well received. A second lp, Trespass was 
cut and Mayhew left and was replaced by Phil Collins, an ex-child 
actor. Collins has developed into one of the most creative people in 
rock and roll. Onstage, Genesis starting using "visuals and theat¬ 
rics on which they would subsequently found their reputation." 
The 71 album, Nursery Cryme, was followed by Foxtrot in 72 
with two of Genesis' best-known songs, "Watcher of the Skies" 
and "Supper's Ready." A 1973 live album, Genesis Live, was well- 
received and preceeded Selling England By The Pound and the 
band's first hit, "I Know What I Like." 

When Peter Gabriel quit in 1975, drummer Phil Collins became 
the lead singer, and in 76, Chester Thompson joined the band on 
drums to take some of the load off Collins. Also, in 75 Collins 
recorded two Ip's, Unorthodox Behaviour and Moroccan Roll, 
with Brand X. 

Genesis continues to be a top-draw act. In 1981, Phil Collins 
released a solo album called Face Value that had to have been one 
of the best rock albums of that year at least. His drum sound on 
records was like artillery and his songs were excellent. 

Mick Fleetwood was mentioned earlier as an original member of 
Fleetwood Mac, an English band that was originally a blues band. 
In fact, in 1969, they released an lp entitled Fleetwood Mac In 
Chicago and the British version was Blues Jam At Chess. Fleet- 
wood was a solid blues/rock drummer and at one time that band 
employed three of the finest British blues guitarists: Danny 
Kirwan, Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green. 

Between 1970 and 1975, Fleetwood Mac went through several 
personnel changes and released a string of good albums in Kiln 
House, Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery To Me, and 
Heroes are Hard To Find. In 1975, Mick Fleetwood and John Mc- 
Vie (the band's original bassist) along with Christine Perfect, a 
singer/songwriter/pianist who'd been with another British blues 
band called Chicken Shack, and who was married to McVie, 
teamed up with Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks for the new 
Fleetwood Mac. In 75 they released Fleetwood Mac which became 
a monster record, followed by Rumours in 77, another monster 


record. 

Mick Fleetwood plays exceptionally well with McVie on bass. 
Fleetwood's use of tom-toms in unison with McVie's bass lines is 
very subtle, but it creates an incredibly strong bottom to the band's 
music and is quite unique. 

Perhaps the most popular rock drummer of '69 and the most 
influential was John Bonham. Led Zepplin grew out of a resur¬ 
rected version of The Yardbirds, and Bonham was actually the sec¬ 
ond chioce. Guitarist Jimmy Page had wanted Procol Harum's 
drummer, B. J. Wilson, but Bonham got the job. His style was ex¬ 
tremely aggressive and perhaps the most amazing characteristic of 
Bonham was his ability to play intricately and forcefully at the 
same time. Anyone who has seen Zepplin's movie, The Song Re¬ 
mains The Same, might've had the same feeling that I did. How 
does he keep up that pace? From 1969 until the death of Bonham in 
1981, Led Zepplin grew into a monster act that influenced hun¬ 
dreds of bands. The tragedy of Bonham was his inability to chan¬ 
nel his tremendous energy and creativity, and his phenomenal suc¬ 
cess into healthier activities. Still, John Bonham earned himself a 
secure place in the history of rock drumming. 

Jim Keltner was thrown into the public eye around 1969. An 
extremely versatile, gifted and creative drummer, Keltner pro¬ 
pelled bands like Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Joe Cocker's Mad 
Dogs and Englishmen, George Harrison, John Lennon, Ry 
Cooder and Ringo Starr, and he became a role model for the next 
generation of studio drummers. (Bob DiSalle's description of 
Keltner's style in this issue is so beautiful that I won't try to im¬ 
prove on it.) Recently Jim has been recording with Bob Dylan and 
Ry Cooder, as well as touring with both men. Like Bill Bruford, 
Keltner is always restless to improve, expand, tear down and build 
up his abilities. He co-led a band called Attitudes that released a 
couple of albums, he co-wrote and sang on Ry Cooder's last album 
and he's been experimenting with electronic percussion. 

Another drummer who broke tradition in 1969 was Gregg Errico 
with Sly and The Family Stone. On songs like "I Want To Take 
You Higher," "Stand," and "Everyday People," Errico's funk 
use of the hi-hat and bass drum particularly were very innovative. 
Sly's music set the stage for major changes in rock music, but this 
was also the music that inspired many jazz musicians to "cross¬ 
over" injazz/rock fusion. 

Drummer Tony Williams had been hailed as a "boy genius" in 
jazz circles since he first appeared with Miles Davis when he was 
seventeen. Around 1970, Tony left Miles and formed a band of his 
own and released a record called Emergency with Larry Young on 
organ and John McLaughlin on guitar. Most people consider this 



IB 


NOVEMBER 




record to be the first "fusion" album, from a band that influenced 
the entire musical direction of the 70s. Williams has said, "From 
my standpoint there were bands that influenced me at the time. I 
remember Gary Burton's band with Steve Swallow and maybe 
Larry Coryell. Then I would listen to the Charles Lloyd group. I 
was also heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix." 

Williams' drumming at this time was awesome. Carmine Appice 
told me, "Tony Williams was the only drummer to ever floor me in 
twenty seconds. Totally blew my mind. When I was with the 
Fudge, I was on an ego trip. I went to hear Tony and said to myself, 
'Alright. Let's see what you can do.' He had a four-piece set with 
an 18" bass drum and I didn't know where he was coming from or 
where he got his rhythms from." 

Tony released Turn It Over after Emergency!, then Ego, The Old 
Bums Rush, Believe It, Million Dollar Legs and Joy of Flying. His 
contributions to both jazz and rock are immense. When we realize 
that Tony was seventeen when he joined Miles, and that he was 
only twenty-two when he recorded Emergency! —his contribution 
is even more staggering. 

Williams' guitarist John McLauglin went on to form the Ma- 
havishnu Orchestra in 1970, a band that showcased one of the 
great innovators in drums: Billy Cobham. Cobham had come up 
playing jazz and r&b and his first shot at success was with a short¬ 
lived band called Dreams, that also featured Michael and Randy 
Brecker, and John Abercrombie. Cobham developed a massive 
drumset and he was one of the few drummers who had the tech¬ 
nique and the taste to play it all. The Mahavishnu Orchestra cre¬ 
ated challenging music using a variety of time signatures and 
tempo changes. Cobham was one of the first drummers who made 
other drummers think about the way they were holding their sticks. 
Most of the great "technicians" up to Cobham held their sticks 
traditionally (Rich, Bellson, Morello), and Billy used matched grip, 
plus he had a right-handed drummer's set-up but played his hi-hat 
and ride cymbal with his left hand (although he had the ambidex¬ 
terity to play either way). Billy was also on Eumir Deodato's re¬ 
cord, "2001,” which became a hit single. That record was certainly 
one of the first "crossover" records and the unique musicianship 
influenced a ton of people. 

Billy left the Mahavishnu Orchestra, formed his own bands and 
recorded several records under his own name; the most successful 
and talked about is probably Crosswind. Today, Billy has a new 
band called Glass Menagerie and remains a very well-respected 
percussionist. 

Miles Davis recorded Bitches Brew in 1970, that featured Jack 
DeJohnette, Lenny White, Charles Alias and Jim Riley (three 




drummers and a percussionist). This was a milestone recording 
that smashed the walls between rock and jazz. DeJohnette re¬ 
mained with Miles for a while before going off on his own. He 
recorded several albums for CT1 records—a company that was 
thriving at this time. Jack remains an enigma in drumming. He's 
well respected by almost every drummer and although it would be 
easy to say that his own music leans more toward jazz—that 
wouldn't really be accurate. DeJohnette's the "thinking man's 
drummer" who can handle himself in any situation. 

Lenny White joined up with Chick Corea in Return To Forever. 
"I played high-energy music, all dexterity, a lot of emphasis on 
notes/technique." RTF was really coming out of the same mold as 
the Mahavishnu Orchestra. After RTF, White formed his own 
band, Twennynine, that played primarily dance music. 

Weather Report released their first album in 1970. The drummer 
was Alphonse Mouzon and the percussionist was the brilliant 
Airto. Mouzon played very well on this record but his stay was 
short-lived. He went on to play and record with McCoy Tyner and 
then with Larry Coryell and The Eleventh House, and then re¬ 
leased solo albums. 

Airto should be included here because he was one of the first 
percussionists in rock/jazz. He performed with Weather Report 
and Miles Davis in addition to just about everybody else who was 
making records at this time. After Airto, rock bands started to add 
percussion players and drummers were aware of more possibilities 
for sounds than the basic snare, bass, toms and cymbals. "Percus¬ 
sion does not mean just time," Airto said. "Percussion means 
many colors." Airto also played amazing drumset on some ses¬ 
sions, including the original Return To Forever albums. 

1970 also gave us Tommy Aldridge with Black Oak Arkansas, 
Corky Laing with Mountain, Bill Ward with Black Sabbath, Jocko 
Marcellino with Sha Na Na, Nigel Olson with Elton John, and Bob 
C. Benberge with Supertramp. The Winter Brothers, Edgar and 
Johnny, had a succession of fine drummers including Red Turner, 
Randy Z., Bobby Caldwell, Bobby Ramirez and Chuck Ruff. 

Jim Gordon surfaced with Delaney & Bennie, then Mad Dogs 
and Englishmen, and the legendary Derek & The Dominoes band. 
Gordon is a well-schooled musician with a thorough knowledge of 
all aspects of his instrument. His work in the studios in the '60s is 
phenomenal, and like his close friend Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon 

continued on page 70 

19 


NOVEMBER 1982 


Photo by Kathy Sfcarte 





I've always had a soft spot for Canada. 
In fact, my office looks like the Canadian 
Embassy with pictures of the Rue de la 
Montague in Montreal, aerial views of 
Vancouver, and the Canadian Rockies 
plastered all over the walls. Some of my 
favorite musicians are Canadian: The 
McGarrigle Sisters, Joni Mitchell, Gordon 
Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn. Cock- 
burn 's music was introduced to me by Rob 
Witter, proprietor of Kropotkin Records. 
Often I'd walk in the shop and hear music 
coming from the record player. "Hey, that 
music sounds great. Who is that?" Or, 
"Man, that's a nice song. Who is that?" 
Or, "Boy, that guy's a good guitarist. 
Who is that?" Rob would always say, 
"Bruce Cockburn." Many U.S. residents 
first knew him by his hit single, "Wonder 
Where The Lions Are," back around 
1980. 

So, it was an exciting day when a letter 
came from the southern part of the U.S. 
from a reader who asked, " Why don't you 
interview Bruce Cockburn's drummer, 
Bob DiSalle?" I picked up the newest al¬ 
bum, In The Falling Darkness, and Bob 
DiSalle was playing fantastic drums. 

I found out that Bob has an exciting ca¬ 
reer up in Canada. He's a busy studio 
drummer, he's gigging with several bands 
and/or artists in addition to Bruce Cock¬ 
burn, and he's consistently exploring new 
ways to do old things. So, several months 


sic was a possibility. It wasn't just some¬ 
thing that you did for a while and then you 
went to school and got "serious" about 
things. I just followed through. 

SF: Had you ever considered a career 
other than music? 

BD: Nothing seriously. I never even con¬ 
sidered music seriously! I came to Toronto 
when I decided to seriously play profes¬ 
sionally. Shortly after I moved here, the 
band I came here to join broke up. An¬ 
other band was formed and then it broke 
up and everybody went their separate 
ways. This was 1970-71. When that last 
band broke up that was one of the toughest 
times. At that point, after doing some 
touring and playing the bars, I was really 
trying to decide if it was really worth it. My 
decision was to go ahead with it and to get 
back into some studying. I found a teacher 
and began to lead a band. We got a bunch 
of musicians together and started to work 
enough from week to week to make 
enough money to stay alive. 

SF: Had you studied with any teachers be¬ 
fore that? 

BD: No. In Sudbury—my hometown— 
my Dad was a member of the Caruso Club. 
They had a concert band that I played 
snare drum for marches and Christmas 
carols for a few years. It was a fairly big 
band; about thirty pieces. I did that to try 
to learn to read. 

After I left that I decided I wasn't inter- 


fidencemorethananythingelse. 

Then I studied with Pete Magadini for 
about eight months. When Peter decided 
to go back down to San Francisco, he did 
me a really nice favor. He knew this fellow 
that was coming to Toronto and said that 
he was a good teacher and if I wanted he 
would speak to him and see if he could get 
me in. It turned out to be Marty Morrell 
who was with Bill Evans at the time. I had 
just seen Marty at a club in Toronto, Bour¬ 
bon Street. I was just totally destroyed by 
the band. They were so good. It was Eddie 
Gomez, Marty and Bill Evans. 

I studied with Marty about five months. 
Marty said, "Throw all the books away. 
Get into a lot of playing and hanging out." 
I would go over to his place and play the 
drums for an hour and he'd play, on pi¬ 
ano, Latin music, some jazz and different 
feels. He was very constructive in his criti¬ 
cism. He would hardly ever say anything 
while we were playing. At the end of the 
hour, Marty would say, "Do you recall 
when we went into this type of feel? You 
might consider trying to do this sort of 
thing." He dealt basically with the feel for 
the music. He also got me into some conga 
things. He was telling me to go out and do 
as much playing as I could, and as little 
practicing at home as I could, although 
you've got to do both. 

Then I studied with Jim Blackley about 
a year later at a time when I really needed 


DOD DlSALIC 


ago we taped this interview. I did the next 
best thing to being in Canada. I leaned 
back in the office chair and looked at the 
Rue de la Montague, Vancouver, and the 
Canadian Rockies, while we let the tape 
roll and captured the Bob DiSalle story. 

BD: There was a fair amount of non-pro¬ 
fessional music in my family. My dad 
played, and still plays, sax and clarinet on 
weekends. My brothers play as well—one 
professionally and two not. We always 
were in bands. I guess if there would be any 
one thing that made me decide to become 
professional, it would be that The Beatles 
came along. That made it a little more 
glamorous and a little more realistic. All of 
a sudden these four people brought it to 
the world's attention that young people 
could do well just playing music; that mu- 


ested in music technically anymore. I 
played with groups and worked on my 
own. I bought the Ludwig book Modern 
Jazz Drumming and did some work with 
that. I got my Dad to help me in reading to 
where I could understand musical nota¬ 
tion, enough that I could work things out. 
If I had a problem, I could subdivide the 
notes and figure out where I was going. 

When I moved to Toronto I just played 
in rock bands, goofed off and had a good 
time. It took me about two and a half years 
before I realized that I was going to put a 
band together and decided, "You're going 
to do it. You've got to do it." That's when 
I started to find some teachers. The first 
teacher was RUSS Fearon, a local musician 
I studied with for four or five months to get 
my reading back together and to build con- 


some direction. He was a great teacher. 

SF: You never felt a conflict between play¬ 
ing rock and jazz? 

BD: From time to time I did. At that time 
I was playing rock and roll and getting in¬ 
volved injazz. Fortunately for me we had a 
keyboard player in the band named Jon 
Goldsmith. He was very influential in my 
playing. 

Working with the whole band, but espe¬ 
cially the keyboard player, really helps a 
drummer's independence (following a pi¬ 
anist's left hand), and being aware of the 
melody and following chord changes, es¬ 
pecially if the keyboard player is rhythmi¬ 
cal and percussive. 

Jon and a friend of his, Kerry Crawford, 
started doing jingles in Montreal and To¬ 
ronto and we put a band together called 


o view from 



China. It was the ideal concept for a band. 
No matter what anybody else did during 
the day we would get together three or four 
nights a week and work with the fake 
books, pull tunes out and play them. If we 
made mistakes, we made mistakes. No¬ 
body worried about it. The idea was that 
the band would eventually try to get work. 
We got into a lot of original material, some 
remarkable writing. The writing was way 
ahead of what the band could actually per¬ 
form. We didn't work very often, but we 
made some recordings for ourselves. The 
band was basically a study band. We 
would try to stay alive by playing the jin¬ 
gles, stay in town, and not do a lot of trav¬ 
eling. 

SF: At that time, what drummers were 
most influential to you? 

Toronto 


BD: That was about five or six years ago. 
One of my favorite players at that time was 
Eric Gravatt. 

SF: Was this when he was with Weather 
Report? 

BD: Yeah. His approach to the time. I 
liked Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Charlie 
Watts, Ringo and all the drummers that go 
way back, but Gravatt got to me with his 
style. Listening to drummers like that 
really helped. I also got involved with pi¬ 
ano lessons for a year and a half. That was 
very helpful. I had to stop because I got 
pretty busy and our first son, David, was 
born. There was nowhere to practice piano 
in the house without waking the baby all 
the time! When the baby got to be about 
six or seven months old and could start 
sleeping through some noise, I decided to 


go back for another six months. 

When I was studying piano, I'd spend 
five hours a day at it and still not go to my 
lesson prepared! It was a whole new trip 
trying to learn what to do with ten fingers. 
But, what was really a help for me was that 
I could memorize the tunes—mainly be¬ 
cause I had to play them almost 4000 times 
before I'd understand what was going on. 
By learning them very slowly and trying to 
learn them right the first time, I would hear 
the melody and I'd be able to sing it. Then 
I'd be able to play the notes. I bought a 
bunch of composition books and I'd still 
really like to get more into that. I've played 
guitar for about fifteen years for fun. I 
learned a lot of chords from my brothers. I 
could never sit in with a band. I'd really 
like to be able to compose at the piano. I'd 


by Scott Fish 



like to come up with a concept for a song 
and be able, for example, to call four or 
five players and write for horns in the right 
keys, and know where to write for certain 
instruments; what works for this and that. 
Like, "How many strings in a section?" 
Just a basic understanding of what every¬ 
body else is doing. I'd like to study music 
that has been done in other cultures as well 
as North American jazz. 

SF: Do you do much studio drumming 
when you're not with Bruce Cockburn? 
BD: A fair amount. I've done some CBC 
documentaries, some things for CBC tele¬ 
vision shows and worked with local artists 
like Jackson Hawke, Lisa DelBello, 
Kathryn Moses and Bruce. But, I've done 
about twenty-two albums. I've played on a 
lot of jingles over the last four years and 
it's been a great experience getting a really 
tight rhythm section together with piano, 
bass and drums, as well as being on a lot of 
sessions where there are big bands. I've 
been on a few things where there's like a 
thirty-three piece orchestra which is really 
frightening. They scared the hell out of 
me, but I managed to get through. I look 
forward to doing that, although I feel 
more comfortable with smaller situations 
with people that I've worked with before. 

There's a certain understanding that 
comes with doing orchestra dates. I guess 
the first time you do anything, you're terri¬ 
fied because it's a group of new people, 


years. That's a pretty intimidating con¬ 
cept. 

BD: I learned a lot about reading from the 
string players. They play the classics all the 
time in the Toronto Symphony and what 
they come across for reading is so difficult 
on a day to day basis, that when they get in 
to do the jingles it's very rare that any jin¬ 
gle writing gets complicated enough that it 
would bother them. The Armin String 
Quartet is a group that works here in the 
city. One of them was playing in the stu¬ 
dio, not reading the chart or anything. 
There wasn't one there. The guy in the con¬ 
trol room was saying, "Well, could you 
play us a little bit of the chart so that we 
could get a sound on you." And he said, 
"Well, I don't have one. Just a min¬ 
ute ... here it is." The arranger went by 
and gave him a copy and he just put it 
down on the music stand and played it! 
Just like that. He didn't even take time to 
glance at it to see what the meters were or 
anything. He just sat down and played it. I 
don't know if it was perfect, but it cer¬ 
tainly sounded good to me. Had I been in 
the control room, I would've said, "That's 
a take." 

SF: What exactly did you learn from the 
string players? 

BD: Their discipline. When they're in the 
studio they have an understanding of 
what's required of them and they sit down 
and they do it. They know their axes. 


where they were talking about drummers 
being able to go from total freedom to to¬ 
tal discipline and then back to total free¬ 
dom. Both of those steps are incredibly 
difficult because if you just play to have 
fun it's really hard to sit down and spend 
the time to try and learn something about 
your instrument. When you do get into 
that it seems like you wind up being totally 
preoccupied with the academic view of it, 
which is really a trap. When you've really 
disciplined yourself, enough to where you 
feel comfortable reading for and playing 
your instrument, then you've got to try to 
get that total freedom again, so you don't 
make the listener feel like you're playing it 
note for note. 

SF: What were the circumstances that led 
to your landing the gig with Bruce Cock- 
burn? 

BD: At that time I was working with 
China. We had a gig down at George's, 
one of the jazz clubs in the city. I believe 
Bruce had hired another drummer for the 
recording. At the last minute something 
didn't work out and I knew Gene Mar- 
tynec, the producer of the album. He 
brought Bruce down to the club. Bruce was 
looking for somebody that was split right 
down the middle, between playing rock 
and jazz. He liked the band and he liked 
my playing, I guess, and the next day Gene 
called and asked if I was free to record with 
them. I said, "Yeah." That was in 76. I 


"WHEN YOU’VE REALLY DISCIPLINED YOURSELF, ENOUGH 
TO WHERE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE READING FOR AND 
PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENT, THEN YOU’VE GOT TO TRY TO 
GET THAT TOTAL FREEDOM AGAIN, SO YOU DON’T MAKE 
THE LISTENER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE PLAYING IT NOTE FOR 

NOTE." 


and if you're a section player in the strings, 
horns or woodwinds, not that it's an easy 
out, but if you miss a note or two, there are 
three or four other people there to possibly 
cover you up. But if you're the keyboard 
player, bass player, or the drummer, ifyou 
blow it you've got forty people in the stu¬ 
dio looking at you! I'm speaking for my¬ 
self. Instead of attention being focused on 
the music—which it should always be and 
will be the more you do those kind of 
things—your attention is focused on not 
making a mistake. Only by doing a lot of 
that can you get to the point where you can 
feel comfortable and confident. 

SF: I'd always heard the mark of studio 
players was that they could be handed a 
sheet of music, and no matter how difficult 
the writing was, they could just play it the 
first time like they'd been playing it for ten 


That's the trick. I'd like to get into learning 
much more about drums and much more 
about music. They know their instruments 
inside out and backwards. I aspire to that, 
to try and learn to treat my instrument, 
perhaps, the way that they do. 

SF: I have a theory that drummers who 
concentrate to a very large degree on devel¬ 
oping great reading chops almost inevita¬ 
bly sound stiff when they have to improvise 
a part. 

BD: True, yeah. But it's a marriage of 
everything that you have to achieve, right? 
To be able to see a page full of black notes 
in somebody's script or handwritten music 
and to not be terrified by the music. That's 
what I'm saying. To approach it where you 
study it and try to learn as much as you can 
from it, without being caught up in the 
technical aspect of it. I read somewhere 


did that album with Bruce and I was terri¬ 
fied. Kathryn Moses was on that session 
and a really fine bass player, Michel 
Denato, who's now in Montreal. Just to be 
in that company was a jump from the regu¬ 
lar thing I'd been doing. 

I started doing some tours with Bruce 
and we got along really well. That's one of 
the nicest things about working in Bruce's 
band—the chemistry of the people has al¬ 
ways been right. If you've been on the 
road, you know what it can get like if peo¬ 
ple can't get along, or if they can't work 
things out. 

Everything started to work for Bruce 
when the reggae single came out, "Wonder 
Where The Lions Are." I didn't play on 
that single, but I played on the album and 
that single really opened a lot of doors for 
Bruce. Although we'd done Canadian 


22 


NOVEMBER 


tours, the touring really intensified after 
that and we went to England and Italy. We 
did one U.S. tour that touched most of the 
North and Midwest and the East Coast. 
Then we came back and did another Cana¬ 
dian tour coast to coast, and then back to 
the States. That was a six-week tour. The 
response was really good. People knew 
Bruce. Although he was opening new terri¬ 
tory, he had enough of a following that 
would come out and be very receptive. 

SF: Do you think a band could subsist in 
Canada if they never wanted to leave that 
country? 

BD: Yeah, they could exist but it's the age 
old story of how long do bands stay to¬ 
gether? There are exceptions to that. 
Groups do hang out long enough to make 
it. But, it's just not the same here. If you're 
going to do it you should go to where it's 


really happening, if you want to make it as 
a band. And I mean if you want to make it; 
you don't just want to play, make some 
records and make a little bit of money. If 
you want to make it, then you go to where 
the Mecca is. And in Canada I guess the 
Mecca would be Toronto. If you lived in 
Canada and you didn't want to go to the 
United States you could come to Toronto 
first and try to get some experience playing 
in clubs, and doing some recording. I'd say 
the next thing would be to move to the 
States or to try to influence people that 
were down there, whether you moved there 
ornot. 

I think Bruce is a good example. He had 
a following in the States, but it didn't re¬ 
ally break big until he'd recorded, I think, 
eight albums. Eight or nine albums that 
he'd already done in Canada. What 


opened doors for him was the fact that 
"Lions" did well in the States. Not so 
much that it did well here. 

SF: Has the band ever considered moving 
to the States? 

BD: As a band we don't think that way. 
Basically it's Bruce's band. I've never as¬ 
sumed from one album to the next that I 
would be the one to play on it. Bruce is 
faithful to the people he works with. A lot 
of people will use musicians to tour with, 
but when it comes time to go into the stu¬ 
dio they'll hire other people. Bruce has al¬ 
lowed the musicians in the band to mature 
by doing the touring. Then when we go 
into the studio it's not the technical thing 
that seems to be the main priority—it's the 
feel that comes behind the music. We're 
not just playing the music. We enjoy it. 

continued on page 86 


NOVEMBER 1982 


23 




• 





Photo by Stephen A. Weiss 


by Cheech lero 


Liberty DeVitto's personality reflects a 
man who is seemingly unaffected by his 
tremendous success. Working his way 
from playing weddings on Long Island up 
to touring all over the world as Billy Joel's 
drummer, De Vitto keeps a low-keyed atti¬ 
tude about his ability as one of rock's most 
prestigious drummers. In addition to re¬ 
cording and touring with contemporary 
music's "hottest act,” Liberty has re¬ 
corded with Phoebe Snow, Karen Carpen¬ 
ter, and Melanie, just to list a few. 

DeVitto is also proving his talents as a 
composer. While recording Melanie's al¬ 
bum at Long View Farms Recording Stu¬ 
dio, Peter Schekeryk, Melanie's 
producer/husband told Liberty he wanted 
her to record a country tune for the next 
album. Liberty played a song he had writ¬ 
ten, and Peter and Melanie decided to in¬ 
clude DeVitto's song "Foolin'' Yourself. " 

Liberty lives in Massapequa, New York, 
with his wife Susan and their daughter 
Devon. When hefinds timefrom his busy 
schedule, Liberty enjoys riding his Marley 
Davidson, which was a present from Billy 
Joel. 

Cl: How did you hook up with Billy Joel? 
LD: Me, Russell Jarvis and Doug Steig- 
meyer were playing on Long Island. Billy, 
at the time, was in California. He'd just 
finished his Street Life Serenade album. 
When Billy did the Street Life tour, Doug 
played bass for him. When Doug used to 
come home we would play local gigs to¬ 
gether out on Long Island. So Billy de¬ 
cided to move back to New York and he 
wanted to do a new album with a New 
York band. He fired his whole band and 
just kept Doug. Doug came back to New 
York with him and Doug told him about 
me. Me, Doug and Billy did all of Turn¬ 
stiles by ourselves. We needed guitar play¬ 
ers to overdub so we got Russell. That's 
how the whole thing started rolling. We've 
been through a million guitar players, but 
now we have Russell and David Brown 
permanently. We have used Steve Kahn, 
Hiriam Bullock, and Hugh McCracken on 
the road. 

Cl: What drummers do you enjoy listening 
to? 

LD: I' m not a jazz drummer at all. I see a 
lot of guys in Modern Drummer who are 
jazz guys and they always talk about the 
sixteenth rudiment on the ride cymbal in 
five zip time. I don't know any of that 
stuff. I just like rock and roll drums. When 
I was growing up it was Beatle time, so 


Ringo Starr was one of my biggest influ¬ 
ences. He never did a drum solo; he just 
played a song. I like playing a song the 
best. Jim Capaldi from Traffic was a 
drummer I enjoyed listening to. Now I love 
Gadd. Joe Morello was always one of my 
favorite jazz drummers though. I don't 
like drum solos. There aren't too many 
creative drum solos that start from down 
here and then build themselves up. But Joe 
Morello did a solo on a Dave Brubeck al¬ 
bum called Time Further Out. The cut was 
"Far More Drums." It's in 5/4 time, and it 
builds into this great thing where he gets to 
a point that makes you wonder what more 
could he possibly do, and he keeps going 
and going. 

Cl: And he only used a four-piece set. 
Quite small in comparison to some of the 
extensive drum kits I see being used today. 
LD: Right, he had this little set! He is really 
a melodic drummer. I just saw him endors¬ 
ing some gadget in an ad in a musician's 
magazine. There was a cup or something 
inside the drum shell, so that when you 
played in that area it changed the tonality. 
There are so many gadgets, nobody's play¬ 
ing just the drums anymore. It's like re¬ 
cording techniques. Nobody's playing 
rock and roll like they used to, with one 
microphone to mike the drums. Now 
there's a million mic's and stuff. 

Cl: In the studio there is such a wide vari¬ 
ety of special effects and outboard equip¬ 
ment that is being used to alter the sound 
of the drums. Most of it sounds great, but 
it's very rare that you get the true sound of 
the drum on tape. The player is no longer 
in control of his instrument's sound. 

LD: What did they do? Did they forget it, 
or forget how to do it? Or is it offensive to 
the ear of someone listening on the radio? 
On those old Elvis Presley records, the 
snare drum was tight and snapping. Now 
they put tons of tape on it and it sounds 
like a box. 

Cl: When you go into the studio, are the 
tunes already rehearsed, or is it more ca¬ 
sual than that? 

LD: In the studio, usually it's me, Doug 
and the guitar player with Phil Ramone. 
Now if Billy's going to have ten songs on 
the album, he might have written five. So 
we go through these five tunes, and we play 
them just to get them on tape. Then we go 
back in the studio and talk about the five 
things we just did. Then Phil Ramone and 
Billy will select one of the tunes to do to¬ 
morrow. We take a tape home and listen to 


the tune we're going to do when we get in 
the studio. Then we sit down in the studio 
and the thing just starts to build from 
there. Like "Just The Way You Are," 
Billy had written it and we started to do it 
live. It sounded like a Stevie Wonder type 
song, you know, with the hi-hat and bass 
drum. We couldn't do that. That kind of 
thing had been done already. So to make 
that drum beat, I remember Phil telling 
me, "Just pick up a brush and a stick and 
see what happens." I could see Phil 
through the glass in the control room mak¬ 
ing a motion as if to say, "Hit it now!" So 
between the two of us, we came up with 
that beat using the brush with the right 
hand. It's actually the guitar that's making 
the song flow. 

Cl: Many people do that tune, from major 
recording artists to groups that play wed¬ 
dings. But every time I have heard that 
song played, the rhythm was never quite 
the same as the record you played on. 

LD: I know what you mean. See, they try 
to make the drums create the groove. It's 
not just the drums, it's the guitars too. The 
guitars are playing the rhythm in the back¬ 
ground and that is making the pulse of the 
song. 

Cl: How long does it usually take you to 
get the drum sounds when you go into the 
studio to lay down the basic tracks? 

LD: You hear about guys getting drum 
sounds by working eight hours. With Jim 
Boyer, the engineer, if I'm sitting behind 
the drums for fifteen minutes it's a long 
time to get a drum sound. He knows me; he 
knows the room. Why should it take so 
long? 

Cl: Do you have anything to say when it 
comes down to the final mix of the drums? 
Do you sit in on that part of the session? 
LD: We sit in and we all listen to it. Phil 
likes help from everyone else, but he does 
such a great job, that's it. 

Cl: Do you ever get involved with the mik¬ 
ing of your drums during live perform¬ 
ances? 

LD: No. The places we play are so big that 
if it wasn't for Brian Ruggles who works 
the board, no one would hear what I was 
doing. He takes care of all that. I've heard 
some drummers, and their sound engineer 
is so bad. The drummers will play this 
really fast stuff and you can't hear it. It 
gets lost. Brian will tell me if I play some¬ 
thing that's really fast. On "Fantasy," for 
instance, Brian said, "You're wasting 
your energy. It can't be heard." The sound 


id with Dilly Joel 


NOVEMBER 1982 


25 





just gets lost. So my style has reached a 
point where everything is precise. It has to 
be very definite so it will carry to the per¬ 
son in the back row. And Brian has it 
miked that way, and he gets the sound of 
the drum so the person in the back row can 
hear it. When a drummer is playing a 
strong straight beat on the cymbal, and the 
other hand is dragging little beats across 
the snare drum head, all those little things 
are nice on a record but you'll never hear 
them in a big colliseum. I like to learn the 
lyrics of a song I'm playing. It helps me 
accent certain parts of the music. The 
hardest gig I ever did was playing with Bob 
James because it was instrumental. I don't 
read music so I learn the words to a song 
and when the vocalist is singing it, I know 
what the next part is. With Bob there were 
no words, but it went well. 

Cl: Do you get the chance to practice much 
now? 

LD: Not a whole lot. A long time ago, a 
friend of mine, who was Billy's old drum¬ 
mer, started working in the office of Home 
Run when the band started to take off. 
And I found we were playing less and less. 
He said, "You'll see that the bigger you 
get, the less you are going to play." We 
used to go on the road for nine months out 


of the year. We used to play Manhattan 
College one day, then it was upstate Roch¬ 
ester, then it was down to Trenton, New 
Jersey, and Newark. Now you play the 
Garden, and then you go to Cleveland. So 
you don't play as much. But I get a lot of 
studio gigs. 

Cl: When you were on the road nine 
months out of the year, how did you deal 
with that? 

LD: Well, we were a lot younger than we 
are now and I was single. We used to drive 
around in Pinto station wagons from town 
to town. Unbelievable—five guys in a car 
stopping at McDonalds. The car stunk of 
McDonald's French fries. Now it's really 
easy flying everywhere. 

Cl: Did you ever think it would get this 
big? 

LD: It's nothing like I thought it would be 
when I was sitting in high school saying, "I 
want to be a big star drummer someday." 
Cl: What is different from what you imag¬ 
ined? 

LD: You feel like you have accomplished a 
lot. But I thought when I was in high 
school that once you made it, that was it. I 
never dreamed of what would come after 
it. It's like you still want to do more. You 
always want to keep going. You're always 


working on new things and trying to get 
new sounds. And it is hard to stay on top. 
Once you're there, it's harder to stay there 
than it is to get there. I mean, Billy could be 
gone tomorrow. The next album could 
bomb, after selling so many records. 

Cl: Would you agree that after an artist 
has reached the stature of a Billy Joel, you 
are guaranteed X amount of record sales? 
LD: There are always the die-hard fans 
that will buy the record just because it's 
out. Elton John has all those fans. Now 
he's not as big as he used to be. And there 
will always be those fans with Billy. But to 
go to Madison Square Garden and sell it 
out five nights with no strain, how long can 
that last? The Beach Boys could do it now. 
Look how long they've been around. You 
know, Billy keeps changing his style. He 
gets bored. We all get bored playing the 
same thing over and over; we like a change. 
He gets bored with himself, which is a posi¬ 
tive for him. 

Cl: What would you do if Billy Joel sud¬ 
denly decided to pack it in and not play any 
more? 

LD: I'd get a gig with someone else. I 
turned down a couple of things. I was sup¬ 
posed to go on the road with Meatloaf, but 
I couldn't do his tour because Billy went in 


"WHEN YOU'RE ON THE ROAD, YOU'RE ONLY PLAYING FOR TWO 
HOURS . . . YOU GO BACK TO THE BAR AFTER THE SHOW. WHAT 
ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO? . . . THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, 
YOU'VE GOT THE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS OFF THE WALL. ITS HARD 
TO KEEP YOURSELF AMUSED ON THE ROAD." 


2e 


NOVEMBER 





the studio to do a new album. I got a call to 
go on a tour with Stevie Nicks, but I 
couldn't do that either because Billy's in 
the studio. Billy will always be number one 
for me, but now I want to break out and do 
other things. He likes that. He's proud 
when he hears us on someone else's re¬ 
cords, or when someone else wants one of 
his band members. But he knows we'll al¬ 
ways go to him first. Like Russell, the gui¬ 
tar player, is going to make his own album. 
He's with CBS. He just got the deal. We'll 
all be doing that with Russ. 

Cl: Have you ever given any thought to do¬ 
ing your own solo album? 

LD: Yeah, I think about it, but that's 
about it. Someday it might be nice. 

Cl: Have you ever had any drum students? 
LD: I wouldn't have the patience. I took 
lessons for about a month. I had two dif¬ 
ferent teachers. One guy I went to for 
about a week. I couldn't stand him. I used 
to go there and he would show me how he 
played. He would play all the time. 
"Watch this!" He'd say, "One day you'll 
be able to do that."Then I went to another 
guy who was really good, but he didn't 
know how to read. He played just like 
Buddy Rich. Maybe he really didn't, but I 
thought he did then. He was great. But that 
only lasted for about a month. 

Cl: So you really didn't have that much 
formal training. 

LD: No. In sixth grade, I joined the band 
in school, but it was really an uphill battle. 
Cl: Did you always want to be a drummer? 
LD: Yes, but I don't know what made me 
decide that. There's a little gap in my life 
that I don't know why I picked the drums. 
Cl: What was your first set like? 

LD: It was a set of silver-sparkle Tempo 
drums—really cheap. Now I endorse 
Tama drums. Tama drums were around 
back then, but they were a very cheap out¬ 
fit then. Tama is the grandmother's name. 
Tama Hoshino is the grandmother. Then 
the other Japanese companies got the Ko¬ 
reans to make them so cheap that they 
under-priced the Japanese. So Tama had 
to decide to either go out of business or 
make a great drum. And I think they make 
a great drum. Tama was the first one to 
make the very heavy hardware. Now ev¬ 
eryone is trying to make their hardware 
similar to their specifications. They are a 
very good company because they listen to 
everything you say. If you make a sugges¬ 
tion, even casually, the next day they've 
got it there for you. 

Cl: What kind of set up are you using at 


"ONCE YOU'RE THERE, ITS HARDER TO STAY T H ERE 
THAN IT IS TO GET THERE. I MEAN, BILLY COULD BE 
GONE TOMORROW. THE NEXT ALBUM COULD BOMB, 
AFTER SELLING SO MANY RECORDS." 


the present? 

LD: I have two sets. One is like a Royal 
Pewter color and the lugs are black. They 
made the lugs black for me. It looks sharp. 
It's their Imperialstar set. There's a 22" 
bass drum, 8", 10", 13", 14" tom-toms, 
and a 14 x 16 and a 16 x 16 floor tom. 
Double-headed drums. They are wooden 
shells, but they have a thin plastic finish. 
The other set has 8", 10", 12", and 13" 
toms with the same size floor toms and a 
wooden 8 l/2"-deep snare drum. And live, 
you don't have to put anything on it. I use 
an Emperor head. It isn't like the one filled 
with oil. This is just two heads pressed to¬ 
gether. I use that on the snare drum and the 
bass drum. You can tune it up really high 
and still get a good tone, because it's extra 
thick, and it doesn't break. As a matter of 
fact, if it does split in the middle, you can 
peel one layer right off. 

Cl: What heads do you use on your toms? 
LD: The regular Ambassador white heads. 
They're thin and they ring more. But they 
have to be changed every night. Halfway 
through the show one head goes dead. 

Cl: What foot position do you use when 
playing your bass drum? 

LD: I use my toe. Sometimes I get a cramp 
in my leg from hitting so hard. I went to the 
hospital once; I was really scared. I had a 
weird feeling in my shin. The doctor said I 
developed shin splints from hitting so 
hard. I was wearing those Japanese 
shoes—those black slippers. It happens 
sometimes if I wear cheap shoes. So I play 
in sneakers now and that creates a cushion 
between the pedal and my foot. 

Cl: What kind of monitor system do you 
use when you are performing on stage? 
LD: I use two studio monitors. I've got my 


drums, Billy's piano, vocal, and guitar. It 
sounds like my stereo. My bass drum 
sounds better than any record I've ever 
heard. It makes you want to play, it sounds 
so good. We have our own monitor mixer, 
who also does Bruce Springsteen. His 
name is C.J. Patterson. Out front helping 
Brian is Dave Cobb. We always use the 
same guys. 

Cl: When you get a chance to play the 
drums by yourself, do you practice, do you 
just jam on the set, or what? 

LD: I just play grooves. I don't practice 
rudiments. 

Cl: What's your definition of "being in 
the pocket"? 

LD: "Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling 
Stones. He's building the drums up in that 
song and it makes you automatically tap 
your foot. That groove is just right. You 
can feel him more than you can actually 
hear him. When Charlie Watts plays 
"Street Fighting Man," it makes you want 
to break windows and everything. It's not 
playing anything spectacular. That's 
something that can't be taught. You can 
learn how to play a fast buzz roll or a fast 
double-stroke paradiddle or whatever. 
You can't be taught how to play like Char¬ 
lie Watts or Ringo. It doesn't matter how 
many notes you play—if it don't feel right, 
it ain't gonna rain. 

Cl: Are you using any electronic percus¬ 
sion instruments in your playing? 

LD: In Australia once, Derek Pellecci from 
the Little River Band bought his Syndrums 
down to a gig we were playing. If Billy 
hadn't been so far away from me at the 
time, he would have come over and thrown 
them off the stage. It was unbelievable. 

continued on page 96 



Photo by Lissa Wales 


NOVEMBER 1982 


27 





INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: 

a candid discussion with 

William F. Ludwig, Jr 

by Dave Levine 

The history of the Ludwig Drum Com¬ 
pany actually began in 1885, when a six- 
year-old German immigrant named Wil¬ 
liam F. Ludwig arrived in Chicago with his 
father, mother, brother Theobald, and sis¬ 
ter Elizabeth. Young Willy's father was a 
professional trombonist who had come to 
this country to live, work, and raise his 
family. 

Unfortunately, soon after settling in 
Chicago, Papa Ludwig was involved in a 
political quarrel that loosened some of his 
teeth, making trombone performance dif¬ 
ficult. Not surprisingly, it was at that point 
that he decided that none of his children 
would play wind instruments. 

Little William triedpiano and violin. He 
took to neither. One day his imagination 
was captured by a drummer in a drum and 
bugle corps. He stuck with the drum and 
was soon working shows and concerts in 
Chicago's theaters and parks. 

Between afternoon and evening per¬ 
formances, William and his brother, 

Theo, operated a small drum shop in the 
theater district. They sold and repaired 
drums as a hobby. Because the brothers 
were musicians, not businessmen, they 
recruited their sister, Liz, to do the book¬ 
keeping and collect a spindle-full of 
unpaid bills. Liz's husband happened to be 
an engineer named Robert Danly. 

Sometime in 1909, William was working 
a show and was unable to keep the fast 
tempo the conductor wanted. His "swing" 
pedal, which hung from the top of the bass 
drum, simply could not achieve the 
required speed. Ludwig immediately went 
to his shop, where he began working on a 
pedal that could do what he needed. He 
and Danly developed the first Ludwig bass 
drum pedal and the Ludwig & Ludwig 
Drum Company was in business. 

William Ludwig married in 1914 and in 
1916 his son and heir, William F. Ludwig, 

Jr., was born. When William, Jr. started 
working in the family business he had no 
way of knowing that under the combined 
guidance of father and son the Ludwig 
Drum company (and later Ludwig Indus¬ 
tries) would become the biggest, most 
innovative, leader of the ever-growing per¬ 
cussion industry. William F. Ludwig III 
joined Ludwig Industries in 1977. He is the 
third generation of Ludwigs in the percus- 



28 


NOVEMBER 





Bare photo 
191?. 




assembly department, 


Vintage shot of Bin pn *. 

Bn| with the CuJver MdltanvT l }' pe, ' for m 
& Bugle Corps. t ry Academy Drum 




On leave 
ali-wood 
Sr r 


Ife 


rNLT 










sion business. 

Why was Ludwig so successful? They 
were certainly not the first American drum 
company. Rogers made drums during the 
Civil War, Gretsch started in the 1880's, 
and when the Ludwigs first opened their 
shop in Chicago they sold Leedy drums. If 
the history of the Ludwig Drum Company 
shows us anything, it is that destiny and 
strategy are equal components of success. 

The quarrel, the drum corps, having an 
engineer in the family, all the chance 
events that occurred; these things could 
not have been planned nor could their sig¬ 
nificance have been immediately under¬ 
stood. Yet they forever changed the his¬ 
tory of drumming. The mergers, product 
development, personnel selection, and 
marketing decisions were made, however, 
with greater knowledge and intent. Staying 
active, taking risks, and keeping competi¬ 
tive may be the best paths to success. Per¬ 
haps there's a lesson we can all under¬ 
stand. 

William F. Ludwig, Jr. is himself a 
friendly, likeable, fatherly person whose 


first place in the national competition held 
in Evanston, Illinois. I joined the musi¬ 
cian's union when I was fifteen and I 
played in the Chicago Civic Orchestra (the 
training orchestra to the Chicago Sym¬ 
phony) and the Chicago Light Opera Co. 

The National Music Camp at Interlo- 
chen was the next great motivator. Playing 
symphonic music and associating with Dr. 
Frederick Fennell sharpened my appetite 
and created the desire to practice and do 
better. Following high school, I attended 
the University of Illinois, where I was 
priviledged to perform under the late, 
great, Austin A. Harding. 

DL: When did you decide to go into the 
drum business? 

WL: From the age of ten it had already 
been decided that "little Willy" would fol¬ 
low in his father's footsteps. When I left 
college my father said, "Get in the car 
tomorrow morning." I didn't know where 
we were going. We ended up at the drum 
factory. That was forty-five years ago. 

DL: What was it like being William F. 
Ludwig Sr.'s son? 


"SOUND IS NEBULOUS. YOU LIKE A SOUND-I DON’T. 

I LIKE A SOUND THAT YOU DON’T. THE NEXT 
FELLOW DOESN’T LIKE EITHER-HE LIKES ANOTHER 
SOUND. SO, WHEN WE SAY THAT A DRUM SOUNDS 
GOOD, TO WHOM DOES IT SOUND GOOD?" 


personal knowledge of the drum industry 
seems unending and unmatched. He main¬ 
tains the Ludwig museum and library 
which spans the history of American 
drumming, still works in the plant five 
days a week, yet he'll pack his tool box and 
drive to a local school's band room if their 
tympani pedal needs adjustment. 

With the drum industry going through 
some major changes and realignment, I 
was pleased to have the chance to sit down 
and talk to the man who was responsible 
for the growth years of the '50s, '60s, and 
70s. 

DL: How did you get started on the 
drums? 

WL: My father gave me rudimental drum 
lessons when I was eight. My mother, 
because of her operatic background, 
insisted that I also take piano. I played in a 
Boy Scout drum and bugle corps and when 
I got into high school I played in the high 
school band. I didn't take it too seriously 
until a notice for contests appeared on the 
high school bulletin board. Contests were 
a spur to my learning; that got me going. 

I went into my first contest and got 
beaten badly. Then I practiced. In 1933, 
when I was a senior in high school, I won 


WL: My father taught me a lot about the 
drum business. It was great being the son 
of an important man. It was also demand¬ 
ing as hell. A father and son act is difficult. 

My father wanted to hold back. I 
wanted to expand. He was less quick to 
approve new products in the outfit field 
than he was in the classical field. We had 
tumultuous meetings and often disagreed 
on policy or philosophy or even on how to 
make percussion instruments. But, in the 
end, we were always together in attempting 
to produce a product that we could be 
proud to hang our name on. 

When you're a family business you're 
very sensitive to criticism. It's tough to 
take. That's why the quality had to be up 
there. We still have that tradition. We still 
ask, "Is it the best?" 

It goes back to a statement made by Mr. 
Danly, the engineer, in questioning my 
father's directions on the pedals being 
made back in 1911. Mr. Danly wanted to 
make 1,000 pedals in a run. In those days 
that was a lot of pedals. My father said, 
"There aren't that many drummers in the 
whole country." Mr. Danly replied by ask¬ 
ing, "It's a good pedal, isn't it?" My 
father answered, "It's the best!" That's all 


you have to ask, "Is it the best?" That's 
one of the most important lessons my 
father taught me. 

DL: What is the history of your early 
involvement in the Ludwig Drum Co.? 
WL: My early days with the company were 
wonderful. The giants we revere today 
were, back then, just damn good players. 
Gene Krupa wasn't a legend; he, Ray 
Bauduc and Ray McKinley were just good 
fellows and good players. Who knew, until 
you looked back, that these guys would be 
giants? 

My father had sold Ludwig & Ludwig to 
C.G. Conn in 1929. The big depression 
hadn't happened yet but another kind of 
depression had. When talking pictures 
came in 1927, it cancelled out a lot of pit 
musicians. Over 50% of Ludwig & 
Ludwig's business at the time was in sound 
effects; bird calls, whistles, horses hoofs, 
pistol shots. Suddenly, that was all gone. 
By 1929 the music business had been dev¬ 
astated. My father sold his company to 
Conn and so did U.G. Leedy of Indianap¬ 
olis. 

Conn moved the manufacturing divi¬ 
sions of Ludwig & Ludwig and Leedy into 
one building in Elkhart, Indiana. They 
kept the offices of Ludwig & Ludwig in 
Chicago, however. Conn maintained sepa¬ 
rate catalogs for each company. The hard¬ 
ware differed but the drums were the same. 

In 1937 my father and I wanted to get 
back into the drum making business. We 
couldn't use the Ludwig name so we 
formed the WFL Drum Company. For 
years we were actually competing with 
Ludwig & Ludwig drums. Needless to say, 
this was quite confusing to our customers. 

After World War II, Conn decided, in 
the interest of saving money, to put the 
offices and manufacturing plants of 
Ludwig & Ludwig and Leedy together in 
Elkhart. They then called the company 
Leedy & Ludwig. 

By 1955 Conn's interest had been cap¬ 
tured by the electronic organ and they 
started to produce Conn organs. They ran 
short of money so they began to sell off 
some of their subsidiaries. It was then that 
"Bud" Slingerland (founder and owner of 
the Slingerland Drum Company) and I 
made Conn an offer. Slingerland got the 
Leedy name and tooling and I got my name 
back. 

DL: Did you foresee the approaching 
drum and percussion eras or was it just 
good timing that you got the company 
back when you did? 

WL: We worked to serve the growing per¬ 
cussion market. Had I known those were 
eras I would have paid more attention. We 
just went to work every morning. We went 
into the office, took off our coats, sat down 
at our desks, and then the phone would 
ring. When we had time we would roam 
the plant and get involved in one thing or 
another. 

continued on page 104 


30 


NOVEMBER 









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Triplets are considered "artificial groupings" because note val¬ 
ues (durations) are changed. The player will know when the change 
to the triplet value occurs by a small "3" placed above or below a 
group of notes. In its pure form, a triplet is a group of three equal 
notes that assumes the same value that two of the notes had origi¬ 
nally. To analyze an eighth-note triplet, we say that two eighth 
notes equal one quarter; therefore, three eighth notes (in triplet 
form) also equal one quarter. Since a quarter note usually equals 
one beat (4/4), the eighth-note triplet equals one beat. In order to 
play an eighth-note triplet properly, you must sub-divide a one 
beat's count into three parts. Each part (or note) has a duration of 
one-third of one beat. To insure that each note of the triplet is 
spaced just right, I would recommend that you count out loud in 
the manner described in Example #1. Counting is an integral part 
of the understanding and performance of this and all the other 
triplet forms that follow. I realize this suggested counting system 
may be a little different for most of you; but I assure you, it works 
very well, especially with the more complicated triplet forms. 
However, after trying my way for a few days, if you would feel 
more comfortable with your own system, by all means use it. You 
must, however, be able to relate it to what you see in these lessons. 


Ex. #2 

3 

A) # S J 

3 




D)T J J 



-3 -1 

k 

gA 

1 J* 

or 

r— 

3 | 

k 


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i - 3 — i 

H)J' 

i - 

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Ex. #1 

Count; Ian.2an3an4a n 

ill 1 * * * * * J J ^ * m d J : \\ 


Count the number, a long "A" sound, and a long "N" sound. 
Practice Example #1. Play it slowly, at first, to be sure of the note 
placements. All the notes are equidistant. This Example should be 
practiced starting with the left hand, as well as, starting with the 
right. 

EIGHTH NOTE TRIPLET GROUPINGS 
It would be helpful to become familiar with the way rests are 
used in triplets. In Example #2,1 have listed all the most common 
eighth note/rest triplet forms. Memorize each. 


I - 3 — 

O’ ’ 

or 

i- 3 ~i 


Remember, don't take note values for granted. For example, 
don't confuse letter B with letter F, or letter C with letter H, or 
letter E with letter I. Played on a snare, they sound very similar. 

Each one of these groups may be repeated (back to back) several 
times, or mixed and combined, to form additional rhythmic 
groupings. 



33 


NOVEMBER 

































SNARE DRUM READING 


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DRUMSET EXERCISES 


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NOVEMBER 19B2 


33 
































































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The author will personally answer any questions about this column. Please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Nick Forte, 18 
Catherine St., East Haven, CT06512. 


34 


NOVEMBER 












































































































































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BEST DEAL OH SYNDRUMS 
IS RIGHT HERE 
ON THIS PAGE. 


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financing. And reduced 
retail overhead means 
reduced prices for you. 

On the coupon , just 
indicate which models you 
want. Also, fill in the name 
and address of your favorite 
dealer. After you send in 
your payment, you'll get a 
call from the dealer you 
chose, and you can pick up 
your Syndrums from him. 

It’s as simple as that. The 
best deals always are. 



Model 478 (4 Syndrums. control console, 
drum snake and internal: power supply! 


Twin Model 27$ <2 Syndroms, control console. 
2 drum cords and internal power supply! 


Single Model 1 78 (1 Syndrom, control console, Syndrum CM ! 1 Syndrum w. power supply! 
drum cord and power supply} 


Here's my check for the famous Syndrum sound. Please 
send the items IVe checked below to my favorite dealer. 


Model 

Quantity 

World’s lowest 
Syndrum Prices 

Total 

Syndrum CM 


$73.00 


Single Model 178 


179.00 


Twin Model 278 


349.00 


Quad Model 478 


699.00 


(Calif, residents add 6% sales tax 1 


Total {Prices above include freight,! 



Name_Phone. 



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111 pick up my Syndrums at: 

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11300 Rush Street 

South El Monte, CA 91733 

Please allow four weeks for delivery. Send check or money order only. 
No cash please. This offer good through 7/31/82 

































IMilfMLiWffllK 

Tama Super X-Tras 50 


Drum Kit 


by Bob Saydlowski, Jr. 

Hoshino USA, distributors tor Tama 
Drums, are celebrating their 10th Anniver¬ 
sary. A new catalog is out, and they’ve 
added the X-Tras line. Being deeper than 
standard sizes, Tama claims 30% greater 
interior volume. 

The X-Tras are part of the Tama Super- 
star series, and have 6-ply birch shells 
made in Japan. The shells have angled 
seams for greater strength, and are molded 
in a heat-compression process. 

Components of the X-Tras 50 kit are: 
16x22 bass drum, 11x12, 12x13 tom¬ 
toms, 16x16 floor tom, 6 1/2X14 metal 
snare drum, and Titan hardware. The 
complete outfit retails at $1858.00. 

BASS DRUM 

The 16x22 bass drum has 20 lugs with 
T-handle rods. Tama has thoughtfully 
included two key rods to replace the bot¬ 
tom two T-rods, so pedal mounting is easier 
and not upset by a T-handle turned the 
wrong way. I wish more companies would 
start doing this! A felt strip is included for 
head dampening. The hoops are 6-ply 
birch and match the drum's finish. A sin¬ 
gle venthole with logo badge is located 
near the front of the shell. Spurs are of the 
disappearing type, secured in their brack¬ 
ets by a T-screw. The spurs are set at a 45° 
side angle and a 20° forward angle. They 
have convertible tips, from rubber to steel 
spike. However, on a wooden floor, the 
drum did slide just a bit under heavy play¬ 
ing. 

If you leave your front head off, con¬ 
sider Tama's shell-supporter post which is 
available separately. The post fits inside 
the shell to give it more strength, thus 
keeping it from ovalling out. 

The drum is fitted with C.S. clear heads 
on overring, and the drum's sound was 
tone and depth, and more than enough 
volume, with a hard attack sound. I had to 
use an external muffler on the batter side in 
conjunction with the felt strip to cut down 
on over-ring, and the drum's sound was 
more contained. I imagine it would be 
great with a Pinstripe. 

MOUNTING SYSTEM 

Tama's Omni-Sphere tom-tom holder is 
standard on all kits. A large diamond¬ 
shaped base block is installed near the 
front of the bass drum shell. This block 
accepts a 1", single-post down tube with a 
memory ring. A T-screw pressing an 
internal-spring steel strip secures the 


down-tube height. Atop the tube is a large, 
satin-finished, V-shaped casting, which 
holds the ball-and-cage system. T-screws 
conveniently placed on the tops of the 
cages are used to adjust angle by loosening 
the ball inside. The L-arms are not adjusta¬ 
ble back and forth inside the ball, and this 
really doesn't matter because the Omni- 
Sphere affords practically any desirable 
position or angle. The tom-toms are fitted 
with column brackets, having an eye-bolt 
inside, locked with a T-screw. Nothing 
protrudes the shell. Tama has included 
Key-Locks on the L-arms—their version 
of a memory ring. Here, the rings have a 
protruding collar which fits tight against 
the tom-tom bracket, and arrests all twist¬ 
ing and turning. The Omni-Sphere holder 
does not shake about like many L-arm type 
holders do. It's very sturdy and simple to 
operate. 

TOM-TOMS 

The 11 x 12 and 12 x 13 toms have 12 
lugs each. The 16x16 floor tom is a stand¬ 
ard Superstar drum with 16 lugs, and three 
legs secured directly by T-screws. None of 
the drums have internal mufflers. Tama's 
Quick-Release externals are optional at 
$13 each though none were included here. 
All the toms are double-headed with triple- 
flanged hoops, and are fitted with CS. 
clear heads top and bottom. The C.S. 
heads gave somewhat of a "whap," but 
the toms still had good definition and tone. 
For rock playing, they do need dampen¬ 
ing, especially if miking. 

The sound was tighter with Evans 
Hydraulics, but still loud and extra-clear 
with no need for dampening at all. Each 
drum had a definite pitch. Throughout 
testing, the floor tom really amazed me 
with its extremely powerful sound. Tuning 
intervals between drums were sufficient, 
but I can't help feeling that a 13 x 14 tom 
would have been more sensible the the 
12x 13. In any event, the extra depth on 
the 12" and 13" naturally gave quite a deep 
sound. Very impressive. 

SNARE DRUM 

Tama includes a 6 1/2X14 seamless 
metal-shell snare with this kit. The drum 
has ten double-ended lugs, extending 
almost the full depth of the shell. The lug 
nuts are held with a nylon retainer instead 
of the usual spring. Detuning from hard 
rim shots is practically nil as the retainers 
have a thread-lock built in. Both hoops are 
diecast, with the snare-side hoop having a 
large, extended gate. An internal muffler is 



fitted. Tama's knob-operated One-touch 
muffler can be preset for the degree of 
dampening desired, and lock on or off for 
quick changes. 

The strainer is of the cross-stick type 
with a fine-tune knob on the throw-off 
side. A fat, two-piece block serves as the 
assembly, with a roller bed on both the 
throw-off and butt sides. The snare unit is 
18-strand, held not with string, but with 
strips of glass tape which is less prone to 
stretching or breaking. 

The drum required some adjusting 
because of excessive snare rattle. I found it 
to have a typical, dry, metal sound with a 
tiny timbale-like ring (fitted with an 
Ambassador Coated batter), and perhaps 
even a little thin-sounding for its 6 1/2 
inches. I would think that a wooden-shell 
snare (8 inch?) would be the better mate 
for th q X-Tras. 

HARDWARE 

The Titan hi-hat stand has a double- 
braced tripod base with large rubber feet, 
and a slightly curved split footboard. 
Linkage is accomplished by a short chain 
which connects with a double pull rod. 
Action relies on a compression spring. 
Since the adjustment is at the top of the 
external cylinder housing, tension is very 
easily adjustable from the playing posi¬ 
tion. There is a knurled knob sprung spur 
point at the base, and a Key-Lock for the 
height tier. Bottom cymbal angle can be 
locked in, thanks to a counterlock washer 
on the tilt cup. The action was good, noise- 
free and responsive, though a bit too 
springy for my personal taste. Also the top 
rod would be too short for some players. 
An optional extender could be helpful. 

Two cymbal stands are included with the 
X-Tras 50 kit. These too, have double- 
braced tripods with fat feet. Each stand 
has two adjustable tiers with set-in nylon 
bushings, and are extendable to six feet. 
The tilter is a sprung modified ratchet, off¬ 
set to fold down neatly against the top 
tube. On top is a special one-piece nylon- 
sleeve nut which screws down on the tilter 
stem. This replaces the traditional rubber 


36 


NOVEMBER 























sleeve and wing nut, and assures that an 
unknowledgeable player cannot tighten his 
cymbal down all the way, which can cause 
cracking. There are no Key-Locks fitted. 
They're not needed anyway, as the stands 
are very sturdy, sensibly designed, and will 
not sink or twist. 

Tama's Titan snare stand also has the 
double-braced tripod and a nylon bushing 
at its height joint. Drum angle is achieved 
by a brake drum tilter with a conical inner 
piece. It holds the drum using the common 
basket design with a threaded post and car¬ 
riage ring. The stand may not go low 
'enough to hold today's 8" snare drums, 
but nevertheless, like all Titan hardware, 
is sturdy and efficient. 

The King Beat pedal has the same foot¬ 
board as the hi-hat: slightly curved with a 
split heel, and a built-in toe stop. It fea¬ 
tures a large, square single post which 
encloses a compression spring. Tension is 
adjustable via a large slotted cap at the bot¬ 
tom of the post. The pedal must be 
removed from the drum hoop to operate 
this cap. Three "memory-marks" are 
notched into the side of the post for use as 
adjustment reference. Th q King Beat has a 
unique heel plate: Beneath the plate is a 
screw-adjusting, hard rubber circular pad. 
When the pad disc is rotated, the heel plate 
can be elevated, changing the footboard 
angle. 

Beater angle is adjustable via a ratchet 
cam. Beater height is set with a wing screw 
and eye bolt. Linkage is a 5/8" metal strap. 
The pedal clamps to the hoop using a plate 
and cam lifter. After presetting the plate 
to fit your hoop thickness (via a drum key), 
the clamp is activated by a lever at the bot¬ 
tom left of the frame. After the initial set¬ 
ting, the lever is all that's needed to lock on 
or remove the pedal. The pedal's base also 
has a pair of spring-adjust spur points. 

The King Beat had decidedly better 
action from the last time I saw it (MD Oct/ 
Nov 1980). I could definitely get used to 
this pedal. Action is strong but not sloppy, 
however, I still feel the whole unit is too 
large. 


FINISHES 

The X-Tras series drums are offered in 
two high-gloss finishes: Super Mahogany 
and Cherry Wine. Both are genuine wood 
veneers. The kit reviewed was finished in 
Mahogany. Tama has truly done some 
extraordinary work here. Each drum was 
perfect, with a masterful appearance. 
Tama's finishing is one of the best I've 
seen, though I do wish they'd add more 
finishes. 

Tama drums have a five-year guarantee 
against defects in materials or workman¬ 
ship. The X-Tras are well constructed, and 
would be ideal for rock. Deeper shell does 
mean deeper sound, and th q X-Tras punch 
out with good volume. The sound is 
impressive, and the hardware has become 
somewhat of an industry standard. @ 



#12 — AUGUST 1979 

Hilly Cob ha in. E-Ivin Jones. 
Jimmy Cobb. Don Lamond, 
Repairing Snare Drums, 
Gladstone Technique. 

#13-OCTOBER 1979 

Gene Krupa Tribute Issue 
(bio., discography, photos, 
transcriptions) Michael 
Shrieve, Syndrom. Vari- 
pitch. 

#17 -JUNE 1980 

Carl Palmer, Der ek Pel lied. 
Bill Goodwin, Great Jazz 
Drummers-Part 1, Poll Re- 
suits, 

#18 - AUGUST 1980 

Chet McCracken & Keith 
Knudsen (Dcobie Bros. I. 

Joe Cocuzzo, Ed Greene, In¬ 
side Star Instruments. GJD: 
Part 1. 

#19 - OCTOBER 1980 

Louie Beilson, Mick Fleet - 
wood, Roy Haynes, Gadd 


Rock Rhythms. New Equip¬ 
ment Review fNAMM). 

#21-FEBRUARY 1981 

Peter Criss, Rick Mar oil a, 
John Bonham. Rod Mnr- 
yenstdn. George Marsh, 
Care & Feeding of Pnims. 

#22- APRIL 1981 

Hal Blaine, Gil Moore, Don 
Moye, Special Report on 
R.I.M.S., Percussion Insti¬ 
tute of Technology Close-up, 
#28 - MAY 1981 

The Country Rock Scene: 
Jalmoe Johanson-Butch 
Trucks. Roger Hawkins, 
Buddy Harman. Paul T, 
Riddle. Inside Ludwig. 
Drinking and Drumming. 

#21 — JUNE 1981 

Simon Phillips, breve 
Smith, Collin Walcott. 
Broadway Drummers 
Roundtable, How To Get 
Your Product On The Mar¬ 
ket, J SI Poll Winners, 


#25-JULY 1981 

Harvey Mason, Alan Grai- 
zer, Susan Evans, Aches & 
Pains of Drumming, Bass¬ 
ists: On Drummers. 


#26 - AUGUST 1981 

Billy Kreutzmann Mickey 
Hart, James Bradley. Jr„ 
Casey ScheuerdL The Care 
& Feeding of Cymbals. 

#27 -OCTOBER 1981 

Shelly Mantie, Tommy Al¬ 
dridge. Darrell Sweet, Jim 
Chapin, Billy Gladstone 
Tribute, Clubdom Miking, 
Drums On Parade at 
NAMM. 

#28 - NOVEMBER 1981 

Jim Keltner, Terry Bozziu, Ed 
Blackwell, Evolution of the 
Dfomset, Drumming & 
Hearing- 


All Back Issues, $3.50 per copy. 


Yes, IVe missed some copies! Please send me the issues checked off below. 


□ l2 Dl7 

□ 13 □ 18 

My payment for $ is enclosed. 

SEND TO: Name_ 

Address ___ 

City_ 

Mail To: 

Modern Drummer, Back Issue Service, 1000 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, N.J. 

TEAR OFF OK MAKE A PHOTOCOPY 


State 


07013, 


missed any MD’s? 


a limited number 
of back issues still 
available! 


NOVEMBER 1982 


37 












Soloing On An 
Ostinato Bass Drum 


by Ken Meyers 

A driving, repetitive bass drum pattern, often known as an osti¬ 
nato, can be a very effective solo device when used properly. Flu¬ 
ent use of the ostinato lends an uplifting sensation of forward mo¬ 
mentum when used beneath a time-structured solo, and acts as a 


foundation on which to build. 

One of the most popular patterns is the samba ostinato which 
can be used in jazz, rock, fusion and Latin. 


B.D, 


m 


F ** ' 


A certain degree of independence is required to enable the solo 
to flow freely above the repetitive bass figure. The easiest way to 
develop the necessary independence is to practice a series of com- 
monly-used rhythmic figures against the ostinato. Eventually, the 


right foot becomes conditioned to the pattern and remains undis¬ 
turbed by the figures played above it. 

Repeat the following twelve patterns at least twenty times each, 
until a free-flowing, comfortable feeling is achieved. 



TJ: * d * d d 

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■! " i_i_: _=__S " -," _:_: 



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continued on next page 


38 


NOVEMBER 



















































































































































































































































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Let's now mix the same basic figures within the same bar: 


l! 


a 


1 .iff FT - 3 


!■ " r~w 




a 


3. 


i 


# J • •' J 0 • * - 0 


4. 


mm- m 






7E~ V" 


Z L 


m i. j .I, 

■•/n jti ^ 

n l ^ 0 # .. m t —# 1 

p*— #•—* *• # — • ■ 

■_a 1_ 1 d 



i i 


±- 


±=i 




InEE 


•rr- .rr 


The following group of one-bar practice patterns utilize some interesting mixed figure combinations with accents: 


i. 

ttF 




^^4 

J 


J J J 

=fl 

32 

!—— K,J 

p a» ~ 

"1 | «R 

^ - 9 

Lfc*1 

a - * 

f 

f 


* I 

3. 

■F^ 


FF== 

LLS-fal 

t- 

■ 



-;1 

Ml 

: — m.—m i 

a * 

P - £ — V i 

■zL’ - 

E _# C. 1 

1 * * 13 

1 — ; 9 m 1 :f 

r ^e*, • hr 1 

* 

^ • 

y *• 

- l -■— m. —■ 

-M*. Jf 

#» 

■ 

H 1 


5. 

Trf^ 

—J' J' # j # # a** 

-^~3~—J 

' 6. 

-Tf 


M: 

»* / 

jft*JE 

•p- -Hi 

' * - »• t i * ~p a 


7. 

jvi : . 

■ j J ~ a a 

■ 4 J a # # a^a # ■ 

*—F 

* a a i J a a # at 4 w 4 ~wL J ■ 

a a* J *1 

M: 

#• M- 

■ 

a* " - p a a^ 

pi 

m m± m. #*— * 

* 1 


9. 


1 


~m—v 


U 3 


*. c 


10 . 


* '• 










*rar.*“w 


Once you've developed a feel for the ostinato, practice the pat¬ 
terns around the drums for even greater variety. And be sure to 
experiment with your own extended ideas. The possibilities are 


limitless. You might want to think of the ostinato bass as still an¬ 
other weapon in your solo arsenal. 


40 


NOVEMBER 




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Harvey Mason 


.kira Tan. 


ARTISTRY IN RHYTHM 


Billy Cobham 


Steve Smith 


great artists 


Keith Copi 


Info available on t 




(T 


nn 

hE 

I IT 


lr 

ill 

hi! 


\dl 

hi 


"Can You Play Like 
John Smith?" 


by Roy Bums 

Recently, a friend of mine was asked to 
do a commercial recording session. During 
the session, it became obvious that things 
were not going well. Finally, the producer 
asked my friend, "Can you play like John 
Smith?" (John Smith doesn't exist. Put 
the name of any famous drummer in place 
of John Smith.) 

The point is a simple one. My friend felt 
like saying, "Why didn't you hire John 
Smith?" However, he kept quiet and tried 
to do the best professional job that he 
could. When we discussed it later, it was 
apparent that although my friend plays 
very well, he just wasn't the right drummer 
for the situation. 

Why Does This Happen? 

Sometimes the other musicians admire 
and like a famous drummer, such as my 
imaginary John Smith. They expect to 
hear and feel that same style. When the 
new drummer plays, it is not what the oth¬ 
ers have been anticipating. Hence the ques¬ 
tion, "Can you play like John Smith?" 

My friend was disappointed because he 
realized that his style was not what the 
other musicians wanted. Even though he 
plays very well, he could not really 


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42 


"groove" with this particular group. 

Occasionally, this same problem will ex¬ 
ist between the bass player and the drum¬ 
mer. However, it is usually the drummer 
who is asked to change. Rarely is it the bass 
player or other members of the group who 
are asked to make the adjustments they ex¬ 
pect from a drummer. 

I suggest that the reason for this is be¬ 
cause the entire group depends so much on 
the drummer. He is the center of the wheel 
or the base on which others build. Each 
beat the drummer plays, or doesn't play, 
affects each of the other players. 

In most cases, the other musicians (even 
arrangers and especially producers) do not 
know enough about drumming to make 
specific and clear suggestions for what 
they want. So they fall back on, "Can you 
play like John Smith?" 

This question is not intended as an in¬ 
sult. It is their hope that you will be famil¬ 
iar with the drummer in question. If that is 
the case, then the drummer could play 
something that would be close to the feel 
being sought. 

All-Star Bands, both live concerts and 
recordings, have produced some really 
strange-sounding music. Players who win 
polls are usually solo players with very in¬ 
dividual characteristics. When thrown to¬ 
gether in an All-Star Band, the style com¬ 
binations can be pretty weird. 

I heard one such group at a major jazz 
festival and the style combination was as 
follows: a swing-style big band drummer, 
an upright accoustical bass player who 
played mostly with trios, a young fusion/ 
rock/jazz guitar player who knew only his 
own music, a bebop/fusion trumpet 
player, a saxophone player from a well- 
known swing big band, a pianist who 
played with a classical third-stream jazz 
group, a violinist from Poland, a vibist 
from Hungary, and a harmonica player 
from Holland. 

All of these musicians are great players 
in their respective styles. However, when 
combined into a unit as a result of the polls 
and the whims of the concert producer, 



they were not at their best. The music they 
produced sounded like a bad rehearsal of 
semi-pro players who all have different 
record collections. 

One famous music critic (who is hated 
by most professional musicians) wrote in 
his review, "The group didn't seem to 
jell." As a matter of fact, they all sounded 
very, very uncomfortable. The music was 
disorganized and all involved breathed a 
sigh of relief when it was over. So did the 
audience. 

Now please don't misunderstand me. 
All-Star Bands can be interesting and ex¬ 
citing. The point is that some similarity in 
style or point of view must be there in order 
for the music to be successful. When this is 
present, the music can be quite stimu¬ 
lating. 

Don’t Take It Personally 

This is an important point to under¬ 
stand. Each person works very hard to de¬ 
velop ability and style. Many years of work 
go into learning to play well. Each of us 
has a lot of effort and pain invested in our 
playing. When someone else says, "Can 
you play like John Smith?" it is not in¬ 
tended to wound your ego. It may be that 
your style is not right for that group. 

Don't be defensive or put down other 
musicians. People have different back¬ 
grounds and widely varied levels of study 
and experience. The trick is to find some 
other musicians who feel somewhat the 
same as you do about music. 

As far as being versatile is concerned, it 
is a good idea to learn diffrent styles of mu¬ 
sic and drumming. Some players, such as 
studio musicians, become very good at 
playing different styles of music. How¬ 
ever, just remember that music is like the 
ocean: there is enough for everyone. No 
one drummer plays every style better than 
anyone else. Play the best you can in every 
kind of music. 

If you hit one of those situations, like 
my friend did, just remember to do your 
best and not take it personally. Learn what 
you can from it and go on to the next one. 
It is all part of learning the music business. 

NOVEMBER 


Pt ■'pit? frb'Jnhn W, Witgfit 
























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In Case: Protecting Your Drums 


by Rick Van Horn 

I've been a club drummer for almost 
twenty years, and over that time I've been 
asked a lot of questions regarding my play¬ 
ing and equipment. One of the questions 
asked most frequently by young drummers 
getting started in regular club work is: 
How important are cases for my drums? 

This is a question that merits some 
examination, because a few considerations 
are involved. My first inclination is to say 
that cases are the next most important 
thing after the drums themselves. But I rec¬ 
ognize an economic situation today that 
puts a young drummer between a rock and 
a hard place. On one hand, if you're talk¬ 
ing about drums recently purchased, that 
means you've just spent some serious 
money and probably don't have much left 
over for cases. On the other hand, the very 
fact that those drums represent such a 
large investment, makes the reason for 


protective cases that much more impor¬ 
tant. 

It's also important for the aspiring club 
player to consider the situation in which 
the drums will be used. If you plan to work 
locally, and can carry your drums in your 
own vehicle, then you might be able to 
hold off on the cases until you can earn the 
money to buy them. If you're lucky 
enough to get a long-term gig in one place, 
so that moving the drums is minimized, 
that too can help put off the necessity of 
purchasing drum cases. But if the drums 
are going on the road right away, even on a 
local basis (meaning lots of one-nighters, 
set-ups and pack-ups), then the cases are 
necessary right away, and should be budg¬ 
eted into the drum purchase. 

Actually, that budgeting would be my 
initial recommendation to any drummer 
buying equipment. Think of the equip¬ 


ment and the case as a total package, and 
budget accordingly. If it takes a few more 
weeks to earn the price of both, then wait. 
No guitar player I've ever known would 
think of buying a new axe without a case to 
carry it. And yet, I'm amazed at the num¬ 
ber of drummers playing club gigs who 
walk in with their drums under their arms 
and their hands full of stands. Invariably, 
they have been in the business a long time, 
and their equipment looks it. Since they're 
coming in as I'm packing out, I very rarely 
get to hear these drummers play, but I have 
to think that there's a certain attitude dem¬ 
onstrated by their lack of concern for their 
equipment. I believe that respect for one's 
instrument will manifest itself in how one 
plays that instrument. Conversely, a lack 
of respect must also show in performance. 

In my last article, I described some of 
the problems of commercial travel that 
drums are likely to face, such as handling 
abuse, mechanical conveyers, bad weath¬ 
er, etc. But drums can get pretty roughly 
handled just getting into and out of your 
own vehicle, depending on how much time 
you have and who's helping you pack up. 
If you play a lot of one-nighters, and travel 
a great deal, the wear and tear on the 
drums builds up quickly. You should be 
aware of this and take the proper precau¬ 
tions to protect the equipment on which 
your livelihood depends. 

With this in mind, let's take a look at 
what's on the market in the field of drum 
protection products. There has been a 
refreshing growth in the selection of cases 
in terms of sizes, shapes, styles and price 
ranges. At this point, there seems to be 
something for everyone. 

Soft Cases 

These are usually canvas or vinyl covers 
shaped to fit over the drum. They have a 
strap for carrying, and open with a zipper. 
These are little more than dust covers, and 
afford no shock protection whatever. 
They will protect the finish from some 
weather, and might be all right for a drum¬ 
mer personally moving his drums a mini¬ 
mal amount of times. Otherwise, they are 
not suitable for serious travel. 

Fibre Cases 

The familiar black cylindrical case is still 
the standard of the industry, and for good 
reason. It's still relatively inexpensive and 



44 


NOVEMBER 























A selection of cases currently available from Anvil Case Company. Not the only source for high-quality cases, Anvil's products are 
representative of state of the art. 


provides reasonable protection for drums. 
Although available without, most of these 
cases now come with foam linings 
installed, which is a good form of shock 
protection. It also adds a little insulation 
against bad weather. 

A recent trend in fibre case design has 
been the box-shaped case. The theory 
seems to be that the material is easier to 
work with and holds up better if all the sur¬ 
faces are straight-sided, rather than curved 
to conform to the drum. I would imagine 
the initial construction process is simpli¬ 
fied using this design. The box shape 
allows for the use of either plastic or metal 
reinforcement strips at all the edges, and 
metal cornerpieces. This gives the case 
added strength and durability, and an 
attractive "professional" look, very simi¬ 
lar in final appearance to an ATA-type 
case. So your choices in fibre cases might 
include: standard cylinder without foam; 
cylinder with foam; plain box without 
foam; box with foam; box with plastic edg¬ 
ing and steel corners and foam; box with 
aluminum edging, steel corners and foam. 
That's quite a selection. All of the above 
use nylon web straps, as leather has 
become economically impractical, and not 
as durable. Box types in some larger sizes 
have metal grips with reinforced backing 
plates to aid in carrying heavier drums. 
Large drum sizes and trap cases are offered 
with casters installed for rolling. Keep in 
mind that if you use deep-shell drums, with 
the heavy hardware and thicker-ply shells, 
you are asking your case to carry substan¬ 
tial weight. Make sure you get a case that 
can hold up to sudden lifts and jerks with¬ 
out literally "coming apart at the seams," 
leaving your drum sitting on the floor 
while you hold a bottomless case in your 
hand. 

Plastic Cases 

A recent innovation in the case field has 
been the plastic case, such as the Anvilite 
from Anvil Case Company or the Titan 
from Roadrunner Cases. The plastic mate¬ 
rial is similar in thickness to the fibre, but 
stronger, more waterproof, and still light¬ 
weight. These cases come in a variety of 
design styles, and some colors. Anvilite 
cases originated in the traditional cylindri¬ 
cal design, but it was found that the plastic 


material tended to split under the stress of 
both curvature and corner molding. Now 
the box style is used exclusively. Both 
Anvil and Roadrunner offer box cases 
with either plastic or metal edging and steel 
comers. This is a high-protection case in a 
medium-price range, and might serve even 
a busy travelling drummer very well for all 
but commercial travel. 

AT A Cases 

These are the cream of the crop. This is 
what you see on the stages of concert halls 
and sports arenas. ATA stands for Airline 
Transport Association, the organization 
that sets the standards for safe air travel 
when it comes to luggage and equipment 
handling. The ATA case is constructed of 
plywood, covered on the outside with a 
plastic or fiberglass layer, and then edged 
with aluminum and braced at the corners 
with steel cornerpieces. The cases are 
strictly box-type, with recessed handles 
and "coffin-latches" which prevent snag¬ 
ging on mechanical conveyer equipment. 
These boxes are relatively heavy, and 
many come with casters installed. These 
are the Rolls-Royce of cases, and are 
priced accordingly. They are also more 
than the average travelling drummer 
needs. But if you regularly have occasion 
to travel by commercial carrier, and must 
entrust your drums to the not-so-tender 
mercies of baggage handlers, the peace of 
mind given by the ATA cases can be a valu¬ 
able commodity in itself. 

I would like to say something about trap 
cases in particular. The trend towards 
heavy-duty hardware has placed an added 
burden on trap cases. Fibre cases do not 
fare well with a lot of weight, unless they 
are reinforced with a plywood sheet bot¬ 
tom, and all the handles are well-backed 
and securely attached. Even then, most 
drummers have a tendency to overload 
them. I've seen innumerable trap cases 
with broken handles, or holes in the fibre 
sides due to a carelessly thrown stand. If 
you have a lot of heavy hardware, either 
separate it into two or more cases, or con¬ 
sider using an ATA trap case which has the 
structural integrity to withstand the 
weight. You'll definitely want it on casters. 

Anvil is the largest manufacturer of 
drum and percussion cases in the world, 


and the name Anvil has come to be syn- 
onomous with the ATA case. However, 
ATA cases, as well as all the other types, 
are manufactured by several companies 
throughout the country. And fibre cases 
are offered by very many local outfits. Do 
some serious shopping when it comes to 
cases. Be sure to get what you need, but not 
more than you need, unless you're invest¬ 
ing towards a future goal and have the 
extra money to spend. And keep in mind, 
this is the best thing you can do to help 
your equipment help you to be the best 
possible player. 

This article has been predicated on the 
idea of buying new cases for your drums. 
In my next one, I'll focus on creating your 
own cases, and on maintaining the cases 
you already have. 



* and MulJi- Track ftecording Products 
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NOVEMBER 1982 


45 










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Trust the leader' 

LATIN 


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Ju 

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DEPT MD • 160 SELMONT AVE. ■ GAWIELD. Nj 07036 


PL IIC 


Colaiuta continuedfrom page II 

drum. Nowadays, I'm playing one bass 
drum, two tom-toms, two floor toms, a 
ride cymbal, two crash cymbals and a hi- 
hat. You just have to think about it if you 
want to play things that are different be¬ 
cause there are sounds that aren't there 
maybe. On a big set-up like the one with 
Zappa, if you have radically different 
sound sources available, I think that's the 
most musical way to approach it. 

RF: Your version of "Peaches en Regalia" 
is very different from Aynsley Dunbar's 
version. I wonder whether that was your 
doing or how much Zappa dictated what 
youdid. 

VC: He totally rearranged it. We had done 
"Peaches" and he said he wanted to do a 
completely different arrangement. We just 
took the whole thing apart and rebuilt it 
like an erector set. 

RF: Was it a "we" or a "him"? 

VC: In terms of arranging, it was pretty 
much him, like, "You play this and you 
play that." I pretty much played the 
groove that was on the record except when 
it went into another section that wasn't 
there before. He said, "Okay, we're going 
to go into reggae now," and for four bars 
I'd play reggae. Then it went into some 
kind of Devoesque kind of thing at the end 
and I played a weird Devo kind of drum 
part. He just told me what to do in that 
sense. The tune opens with this drum fill 
and sometimes I'd play it like the record 
and sometimes I wouldn't and he'd say, 
"No, play what's on the record." Other 
times he wouldn't say anything. Other 
than that, he would say, "Play it like this 
or play it like that," and on that particular 
tune, that's what happened. Other times 
we'd be playing a tune and I would just 
come up with my own part. Then there 
would be another tune where he would 
hand me a written drum part or he would 
say, "Play this against that, or play five 
against four." I don't know if it was to 
challenge me or not, but if it was, man, you 
gotta meet the challenge. 

RF: So you found it challenging? 

VC: Oh yeah, it was great. I learned so 
much from that. It was a great challenge 
for me. I had a pretty fair knowledge of 
polyrhythms and stuff like that before I 
got in the band, but nowhere near what it 
became. I mean, I knew what they were 
theoretically, but in terms of approaching 
them the same way he did and using them 
on the drumset, no way. I got all that from 
him. In the two and a half years I was with 
him, it was incredible what I learned. If he 
sees you have it to begin with, you have to 
keep up with him. There's so much infor¬ 
mation and knowledge coming out of him 
so fast that you have to be on your toes 
every second. It's incredible. I didn't want 
to think of it like, "Oh God, I have to keep 
up." I just kind of went along with it and 
knew that I had to meet the challenge. I 


enjoyed it, got off on it and learned from 
it. I noticed that it changed my way of 
thinking to the point where it started com¬ 
ing out of me. I would play behind his gui¬ 
tar solos. He said, "I want you to listen to 
what I'm playing because I'm playing all 
those rhythms. When you accompany me, 
I don't want you to just try to guess what 
they are and play some standard rhythmic 
fill. I want you to understand exactly 
where I'm at and communicate with me on 
that level." That forced me to try to im¬ 
provise these polyrhythms and think in 
that way, which is not the norm by any 
stretch of the imagination. People just 
don't do that. I don't care how stretched 
out you get when you jam, people just 
don't do it that way. It forced me to do that 
and I think he saw that I had a talent for 
doing that. 

RF: I' m tempted to say that you seem just 
as at home playing odd time as you are 
playing regular time. 

VC: Pretty much I am, yeah. I spent a lot 
of time practicing it when I lived at home. 
I'd go up in the attic and play in seven for 
half an hour. 

RF: You mean as a kid? 

VC: Yeah, because once I left home, or ac¬ 
tually, once I left Berklee, I couldn't really 
practice. I still can't out here. I've been liv¬ 
ing in an apartment for three years and I 
can't play drums in my apartment. I prac¬ 
tice when I work, which is a drag in a lot of 
ways, but it's like a language. If you don't 
do it for a couple of months and suddenly 
you're at a gig and somebody throws a 
tune at you that has shifting time signa¬ 
tures, run through it a couple of times and 
then bingo. That's what it's like for me. If 
I'm doing it a lot, it's easier. It's like read¬ 
ing; if I don't read stuff that's that hard, 
sometimes I'll go home and just whip 
through some literature that I haven't seen 
in a long time to brush up on it. The thing 
about sight reading is that you have to read 
things you haven't seen before. 

RF: With Zappa you really went out there 
at times. 

VC: Yeah. In the beginning, when I first 
started doing it, I was pulling it off, but 
there were a lot of loose spots. But I had to 
make it come out in order to develop it, 
otherwise, how was I going to do it? Then I 
got more accustomed to it. I'd sit there and 
think about it and listen to the road tapes 
and it started being more comfortable to 
me where it just started oozing out of my 
pores, which I think Frank really enjoyed. 
I had a good time doing it because it was 
the only time and place I could do that. 
Frank loved it because he said, "This cat 
has the capability to do it and I'm going to 
get it out of him one way or another." He 
would make me do it, so I started develop¬ 
ing it. If it wasn't for that, I probably 
wouldn't have gone for it. 

It did get loose every once in a while. 

continued on next page 


NOVEMBER 





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We'd be out there, and when you've got 
four or five guys playing along and the 
drummer is going out on Mars, what are 
they going to think? They've got to get 
used to it too, if it's something they 
haven't encountered. It was kind of hard 
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came back, not having done that stuff for a 
while, but having done other things, like 
playing in a studio a lot, which matured my 
concept in other ways, which fed that. One 
hand feeds the other and it all helps and 
your time concept gets stronger. I had got- 
.en a lot stronger doing that in being able 
to read Frank and gauge the other guys in 
the band. It wasn't like when we were do¬ 
ing that stuff, it was just me and Frank and 
the other guys were sitting back wondering 
what to do, because those guys were all real 
strong musicians. I had a rapport with the 
whole rhythm section and those guys were 
right with me. I got to the point where I 
was able to follow Frank and do that stuff 
much more confidently and accurately, 
plus monitor, with another part of my ear, 
exactly what was going on in the rest of the 
band too. 

RF: What are you thinking of when you're 
out there? Are you keeping count or what? 
What do you think is the secret to playing 
odd time? 

VC: I definitely think that the key to it is 
counting first. Then you become comfort¬ 
able to the point where the count becomes 
ingrained in your subconscious. You learn 
how to do it from counting it and then it's 
feeling it. A guy who can't read, or who 
can read but isn't an ace reader, can feel it. 
There was one guy in the band, Ike, who 
hadn't really had any formal training in 
terms of polyrhythms and stuff. But this 
guy could feel that stuff. I used to go out 
there, to Uranus and back, and this cat was 
right there, always. We've had discussions 
about it and he told me he just feels it. It's 
like a pulse to him. 

RF: Then you were really allowed total 
freedom when it came to stuff like that? 
VC: Pretty much, but only to the point 
where I'd better know what I was doing. 
And I had to prove that I knew what I was 
doing, and I did. 

RF: There was one song, "Keep it 
Greasy," where I wonder how you were 
thinking of the time signature. 

VC: There's this one part where the actual 
time signature is 19/16. The feel is like it is 
4/4 with three 16th notes tacked onto the 
end of it. Then there's another part in 21. 
It was all one live take; no splices or adds 
or anything. We just rehearsed it. We used 
to play it on the road and Frank said, 
"Okay, we're going to elongate that in the 
studio and that's going to be a solo. You're 
just going to vamp out until I give you a 
cue and then we'll go into something else." 
And bingo, he gave us a cue and zipp, we 
were in 19/16. We just cut that track with 


guitar, bass and drums. I don't recall if 
there was electric piano in that particular 
solo section or not. We went to Village Re¬ 
corders one day and just churned out tune 
after tune, all live, no edits or anything. 
RF: Zappa's studio tracks are a lot cleaner 
than his live recordings. How different was 
that process from a playing standpoint for 
you? Was it a lot more dictated? 

VC: For example, on certain tunes on the 
Joe's Garage record, there were tunes that 
were pretty much groove tunes and I 
played them like that. I was really enjoying 
going in there and trying to play great 
tracks. On, I think it was, "Token of my 
Extreme," we just grooved out and tried to 
make it feel as good as possible and not get 
in the way of anything that was going to go 
on top of it. On the other tunes, like "Keep 
it Greasy," it was as if we were going to 
play it live, except the time really had to be 
cool. Frank told me once that he found it 
difficult to get people to peak in the studio, 
so you can never get too energetic for him. 
It really wasn't much different. 

RF: Why did you leave Frank? 

VC: I was going through stuff like, "Wow, 
I'm on the road all the time and when I get 
off the road I can't work." I wanted to get 
into the studio. 

RF: Why? 

VC: Because I like recording a lot. I love 
playing in the studio; I love the way it 
sounds and feels in the studio. When I was 
back east, there were three studios in town 
and it was something that always fasci¬ 
nated me and something I wanted to do as 
a musician. Even though I enjoy going out 
on the road, after a while I said, "I want to 
be at home and I'll never work in the stu¬ 
dios if I'm not around long enough for 
people to call me." Just because I can go 
out live and play my ass off, doesn't mean 
I'm going to be able to go into the studio 
and play well, unless I go in there and do it 
and work for different people and be able 
to please all kinds of different people. 

RF: Define what a good drummer is. 

VC: A good time keeper, first of all, and a 
person who has a good musical sense. 

RF: How does a good live drummer differ 
from a good studio drummer? You just 
said that sometimes you can't apply one to 
the other. 

VC: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I've 
seen people play live where the entire band 
sounds like a record and then I've seen 
other situations where it was totally crea¬ 
tive. Take a live situation like the Doobies 
or Boz Scaggs or something. I'm not say¬ 
ing that those guys don't stretch, but it's 
very orchestrated, which is great for the 
music and everybody's playing parts that 
fit and make that music happen. But, now 
take the Art Ensemble of Chicago. How 
avant-garde can you get? Those are two 
live situations. Those guys aren't thinking 
like studio musicians so it just differs with 
continued on next page 


48 


NOVEMBER 

















NOVEMBER 1982 


49 















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the idiom of the music. Idiomatically it dif¬ 
fers, the way you approach it. Live playing 
vs. studio playing depends on what your 
concept of music is; the big picture of how 
you conceive music and what kind of 
player you are. It also depends on if you 
have any concept at all of live playing vs. 
studio playing, if you're a Sideman, and 
how whoever you're working for wants 
you to play. If you're in a big rock band, 
you might have to play with energy and be 
a showman. If you're part of an orchestra, 
you have to read and they don't care about 
you twirling your sticks. And if you're just 
playing in an avant-garde situation, it's 
how much liberty you can take and the id¬ 
iom of the music. There's a million differ¬ 
ent factors in that, from what I've noticed. 
RF: Now that you're immersed in the stu¬ 
dio scene, what do you see that makes a 
good studio drummer? What are the pro¬ 
ducers in the studios wanting? 

VC: Somebody who has real good time, is 
an excellent reader, whose drums sound 
good, someone other musicians are com¬ 
fortable playing with, and who can assimi¬ 
late a variety of styles. It's a real personal 
thing, trying to read their minds, depend¬ 
ing on how tangible the producer or the 
artist is. It's great when somebody comes 
up with a tune and it's just a bunch of 
chords on paper. You're sitting there and 
nobody has any idea of what it's like ex¬ 
cept it's in 4/4 and has this amount of bars 
and you're able to make it work. Again, 
there's so many different factors. It's al¬ 
most like you have to have a good knowl¬ 
edge of all the elements of music and be 
ready to draw on that mental rolodex at 
any time and really be able to efficiently 
pull it off, despite the amount of commun¬ 
ication you have with who you're working 
with. Sometimes it happens and sometimes 
it doesn't. It depends on how difficult the 
people are to work with, it depends on the 
other musicians and how competent you 
are. At least, that's what I've found. 

RF: How did you break into the studio 
scene? 

VC: Probably the one person most respon¬ 
sible was Neil Stubenhaus. The first date I 
can remember being hired on was a date 
that Neil said, "You have to get Vinnie." 
He's helping me so much in my career. I 
think the people mostly responsible for 
getting me work were Neil, Tom Scott, Pat 
Williams and Hank Cicalo. It does have a 
lot to do with people you know. 

RF: What, to you, is a positive session? 
VC: A positive session is when you go in 
and the producer and the engineer are so 
together that you don't spend the entire 
session trying to get a drum sound. Some 
dates go on for six, seven or eight hours, 
and constantly through the date, they're 
still getting your drum sounds together. 
It's like, "Wow, didn't you get it together 
yet?" Or a positive session is when the pro¬ 
ducer is not a jerk and when the guys on 


50 


the date are the right guys. When the pro¬ 
ducer picked the right guys and you're not 
saying,"I've never worked with this bass 
player before, and wow, he's great, but for 
some reason it's not clicking." He might 
be sitting there thinking the drummer is a 
j erk. It's the same thing with a band. When 
you play with a band who plays together all 
the time, it gets tight, like ESP. I work with 
Stube [Stubenhaus] in the studio a lot and I 
know when Stube is there it's going to hap¬ 
pen because he knows every minute thing 
that I'm going to play and I know every 
minute thing he's going to play. That helps 
a lot right there. And if it's a new musician 
that I haven't played with, but he's hap¬ 
pening, it's still going to click. The chal¬ 
lenge of the studio initially is that you have 
to go in and make music out of what is 
placed in front of you right away. You 
have to interpret what's in your mind and 
what's on the paper. But they can make it 
easier for you if you don't take it too out, 
like if they don't make you do it 99 times 
for no reason. For example, you're run¬ 
ning a chart down and you immediately 
play the right stuff. But for some stupid 
unexplainable reason, they have to go by 
way of China only to arrive three hours 
later at what you initially played. What's 
the point? When you're playing the right 
stuff, they acknowledge it, it's happening, 
they're real easy going and they don't exert 
unnecessary pressure on the guys, it's posi¬ 
tive. Some musicians tell me that there are 
certain people who have philosophies that 
it's good to make guys do it over and over 
again, to the point where the emotion be¬ 
comes totally detached and they're just 
playing it like a machine. To me, that's not 
happening. To me, you reach a point 
where you know the song and you burn out 
on it, you've peaked on it, you're bored 
and want to go home. If they want you to 
play it emotionless, why don't theyjust tell 
you to play it that way? So, I guess a posi¬ 
tive session is where there is no ego bullshit 
or a producer who thinks he knows what 
he's talking about, but he doesn't know 
anything. He tells you to play something 
and you literally play it and it's totally stu¬ 
pid, where you play exactly what he sings 
to you. You can't do that. They have to 
know what you sound like and that they're 
going to hire a bunch of musicians who 
know what they're doing. If they hire a 
bunch of guys who know what they're do¬ 
ing, they're going to go in there and do it 
right. After that, it's just a matter of the 
producer being a guidepost, kind of guid¬ 
ing you along in a real sensible manner 
without all that other crap. 

RF: What are some of the sessions you've 
been doing recently? 

VC: I did Gino Vanelli's Nightwalker al¬ 
bum a while back. I did a few tracks on an 
album called Swing with Richard Perry 
that he's really behind, which is '40s mu¬ 
sic. I just did the title track and a couple of 
continued on next page 

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tunes for Joni Mitchell's new album and 
all of the Judy Collins' album, which was 
an interesting project. It was really a pot¬ 
pourri of musical tunes and musical styles 
and the musicians were great. I've done a 
few majorjingles with Charlie Calello with 
such artists as Janis lan and Nancy 
Wilson. I also did a scene in a film with 
Bette Midler a couple of months ago where 
we spent eight days filming a five-minute 
scene, and a new film with Richard Pryor 
that Pat Williams composed the music for. 
I've also done some TV themes that Pat 
also composed the music for such as Lou 
Grant, The Two of Us and a new TV show 
called Making the Grade, which Tom Scott 
composed the music for. Actually, I've 
been doing a lot of varied things. 

RF: What about working with a click 
track? Did you find that difficult to adjust 
to? 

VC: Not really. Maybe at first it kind of 
took me aback, but it was a kind of thing 
where you'd better get used to it real quick 
or else. So I did. You approach it cau¬ 
tiously until you're comfortable with it. If 
you have a good intrinsic sense of time, 
then you can probably adjust to a click 
track well. I suppose if you play with a 
click track, it could help your time. But if 
you have a good intrinsic sense of time and 
you're not playing with a click track, it's 
not like you're going to conceptualize your 
time or try to play like a click track as much 
as you are just making the time be real 
good and feel good. From my experience, 
sometimes I've worked with a click track 
where it helped and it was definitely advan¬ 
tageous to use it. Other times it was like, 
"Why are you putting this thing on?" 
There are situations where the producer 
thinks it's just the right tempo, although 
it's too slow. The musicians are just sitting 
there suffering through it, but the guy in¬ 
sists on it and can't hear that it's killing the 
tune. You have to do it anyway and just go 
through it. Meanwhile, the tune sounds 
like it's lumbering along to its own natural 
death. 

RF: You mentioned time as being the main 
ingredient to being a good drummer. How 
do you work on that? 

VC: I'm still learning. When I first got to 
L.A., I thought if I was able to do as many 
little demos as possible, it would help me. I 
don't think that way anymore. I think 
now, that trying to play with the best play¬ 
ers possible will develop your time, if you 
can get them to put up with you if you're 
that bad. If you are talented and have 
pretty good time and you play with guys 
who are willing to play with you who are 
better players than you are, you can gain 
more from that than playing with players 
who are terrible. You either have the talent 
to have good time or you don't. 

RF: Did you ever work with a metronome? 
VC: Yeah, at certain points. When I would 
enter into these little local contests playing 


snare drum solo when I was in junior-high, 
I'd work with a metronome to make sure I 
didn't fall behind. I never really did that 
with the drumset, though. I didn't have a 
really terrific metronome and I didn't have 
any headphones. The only time I did that 
was when I got into the studio and had to 
play with a click track and I had to learn 
fast. I just didn't have that available to me 
at that time. I don't think I really thought 
of it at that point either. It all happened 
when I was in the studio. I don't think of 
myself as a session player as much as I like 
to think of myself as a musician who hap¬ 
pens to play drums. 

RF: How are you differentiating? 

VC: I think a lot of it might lie in attitude. 
There are a lot of musicians who are great 
in the studio but who are just great musi¬ 
cians to begin with. You can get better 
from getting more studio experience. You 
can mature and become a better musician. 
But when I was learning to play, it wasn't 
like, "Well, I've got to have this, that and 
the other thing together so I can get into 
the studios." It was that I felt a need to 
have that because I heard it and I wanted to 
be able to do things that I heard. It just so 
happens that it increases your capacity. 
When you translate that into the studio 
and you cross the recording threshold, it 
isn't like you have more capacity than you 
need. You just have more information to 
draw on, which can only help you, not hurt 
you. 

RF: How do you achieve your own style? 
VC: I don't know. That's something I've 
been pondering for years. I don't know if 
it's something you attain consciously or 
subconsciously. I'm not sure. I can't pro¬ 
vide the answer to that, but just drawing 
on influences, to the point of where you're 
not going to become a clone of one person 
or one idol. That's how I learn, from lis¬ 
tening to records, transcribing, listening, 
trying to absorb it all and hash it out. I felt 
that I started establishing an identity when 
I was with Frank in terms of trying to im¬ 
provise those polyrhythms and stuff and 
doing something that I had never done be¬ 
fore. Trying to apply stuff like that in com¬ 
mercial situations is a different story, 
though, and still have something that peo¬ 
ple can identify all the time. People have 
told me that I have my own style and they 
can identify me on a track. I don't know if 
I agree with them, even though I can usu¬ 
ally tell when it's me and sometimes I don't 
dig it. It's like, "I'm on this record? Take 
it off! Too bad, it would have been a great 
record, but it's only an okay record since 
I'm on it." But if you have something to 
capitalize on, then you're really identifi¬ 
able as opposed to being able to do some¬ 
thing in only one situation. If you have 
your own sound that you can use in every 
situation, people cash in on you. I was in a 
store one time where they had one little 
continued on next page 


52 


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speaker. I couldn't even tell who the artist 
was or what the tune was. I heard about 
one bar and said, "That's Steve Gadd." I 
waited until the announcer came on, and it 
was. Or I can say, "That's Jeff or that's 
Harvey or so and so." 

RF : Can you tell from the way they play or 
the way their drums sound? 

VC: Well, it varies. The first giveaway in 
that instance was that in the first second I 
took an educated guess because I thought 
that was Steve Gadd's cymbal sound. Then 
I heard something—maybe it was just the 
way the time felt—and in the next two and 
a half seconds, I knew. 

RF: What would you say your forte is? 
VC: I don't know. I guess I consider my¬ 
self a pretty good reader. Some people say 
I have good technique. I don't know. 

RF: What about musically? What do you 
think your forte is? 

VC: There's only two kinds of music to 
me. It's probably been said a million times, 
but I'm going to say it: There's good music 
and bad music. In terms of what my forte 
is, I don't even know because the things I 
might feel at a particular moment that are 
not as strong, I'll immediately try to make 
them stronger and it varies with the situa¬ 
tion. For example, let's say I were to play 
one kind of music good, say in the style of 
Jackson Browne or something. What if I 
went into one of that cat's dates and I was 
cutting the whole album and then he pulled 
out one tune that he might have written 
from a certain experience that I have no 
idea how to interpret? To me, it goes even 
beyond the idiom and the artist, down to 
the tune. Then what are you? If there's 
something that throws me like that, I just 
have to try to remember that specific situa¬ 
tion, analyze it, think about it and then fig¬ 
ure out how to deal with it from there. 

RF : Is there a particular kind of music you 
enjoy playing the most? 

VC: Good, and that's it. Good music. 
Everything that's good. There are so many 
kinds of music that I dig and there are cer¬ 
tain things that hit me emotionally, like the 
Beatles' song "Martha My Dear," which 
is probably my favorite tune. I dig the time 
that's on there. It's not a drum concerto or 
anything, but who gives a shit? It's a great 
piece of music and I could never play that, 
or anyone else, better than Ringo did. He 
played it and that was it and that's the only 
way it's going to be. But if I were playing 
that particular piece of music, I'd enjoy 
the hell out of it! Or like, "Adagio for 
Strings" by Samuel Barber. It's one of my 
favorite pieces of music and there are no 
drums on that. I did a record in Europe last 
year with a Viennese cat and he was trying 
to explain to me what the lyrics meant in 
English, figuring it would help me inter¬ 
pret the song. Finally I said, "You know, I 
don't hear any drums at all on this." The 
guy ended up cutting it just with strings 
and it made it. 


RF : Why did you decide to stop using dou¬ 
ble bass? 

VC: No one ever uses it in the studio situa¬ 
tion where you get called as a Sideman. 
And just conceptually, I was in a different 
frame of mind where I was just geared to 
one bass drum and getting things out of 
just what I had. I remember at Berklee I 
used to go into the practice room with just 
a ride cymbal and a snare drum and maybe 
a hi-hat. I was surprised at what would 
come out and what you can get out of what 
you have and how you have to change your 
head. Most people think, "I can't do this. I 
only have a hi-hat and a snare drum." But 
you can if you just apply yourself to it. 
Less is more if you can really play. It's all 
in how you approach what you have as op¬ 
posed to what you have. 

RF: Could you talk a little about tuning? 
VC: Tuning is something I've really 
learned a lot about from being out here in 
L.A., just talking to different people 
about it and a trial and error process. I just 
tried to learn as much as I could about my 
drums. Say I have an 8 x 12 tom tom—I'll 
get an Ambassador, top and bottom, and 
tune both heads the same until I get them 
to a perfectly pure fundamental tone. If I 
want a dip or something, I can usually get 
it on a drum that doesn't have that many 
lugs, like a smaller diameter drum with 
only five lugs. I just detune one of the lugs 
on the top head and then I'll tape it up. 
Past that, it's just feel for me. It's some¬ 
thing that I don't even know how to ana¬ 
lyze. I just learned through trial and error 
and feeling it out. Recently I've discovered 
some different tuning methods. Every 
drum has a comfortable pitch area to the 
point where it sounds out of its range, high 
or low, and if you tune the top head looser 
than the bottom, it'll get flappy and 
messed up. I tried something recently 
where I tuned them almost too low and 
taped them and the guy messed with the 
EQ in the control room. They came out 
sounding with lots of slap and echo, and he 
put some echo on them. I've gotten that 
two or three times already and I felt like I 
hit on something. I don't really know how 
to explain it, though. I just mess around 
with it until it happens. As far as the little 
drums, I'll just put the heads on and tune 
them up, top and bottom, to get good fun¬ 
damental tones out of them and they 
sound real pure. There's an actual pitch. 
It's not like I tune them to fourths or some¬ 
thing; just where it sounds like a good 
pitch range where the drum really reso¬ 
nates, which sometimes doesn't help with 
snare buzz. But I don't usually have that 
many problems with it. I don't tune it like a 
blanket. I used to think I had to do that to 
get a deep sound out of a snare drum, but I 
found that that's not true. You don't have 
to tune a drum head until it's dented and 
put four wallets on it. When I did Joe's 
continued on next page 


5* 


NOVEMBER 






















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own special problems for the soundman. That s where Ibanez 
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other high frequency percussion like the champ it is. 

Mike it right with Ibanez 

Most mike stands weren't designed for miking drums. 
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Tama Strong arm Stands. 

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Rocky White's 
reasons for 
playing Yamaha 
System Drums. 



With some drums, there 
isn't ton miif h vim i an d<i 
lo a I tor the sound. Hume 
will give you *i real deep 
thud, end others are real 
bright With Yamaha* 1 t an 
gel bath sounds, they’re just 
very Versatile, Mostly I like 
a deep round sound u ith 
tight dnfiniliun, siru e my 
i Dm ept is ihdt a drum is a 
melodif instrument like 
anything else l ran hear 
drum pi It lies and Yamaha 
lets me at lueve that without 
a lot id vonstant re-tuning 
\s fcir as their hardware, 
the snare drum stand and 
burrni stands ire very well 
thought-out* They teel like 
they were designed by a 
drummer, and they’re not 
limited at all The u Series 
snare drum stand's bad titt¬ 
er is lantdstii t you tan get 
the perfet t angle for your 
pha\ ing posture. \ncl the 
boom stand tiller < an double 
as two stands bec ause it 
doesn't have a long handle 
So the boom slides right in¬ 
side the rest of the stand if 
vou don't need it All in all, 
Yamaha is the perfet I set 
ut drums tor tone quality, 
stmnd* anti ease ut set-up. 

For more informal ion. write: 
Yamaha Mu sit a I Ihodui Is. 

\ Division oi Yamaha Inter- 
national Corp Box 727 L 
Urand Rapids* Ml 4 Uj1U. 


©YAMAHA 


Cozy Powell's 
reasons for 
playing Yamaha 
System Drums. 



I' d hi n p! a v ing t h e sa m e 
set of drums tor ten years 
when I met up with the 
Yamaha people daring a 
tour ol | a pan with Rainbow 
I told them I hat il t hey 
( ou Id to me up wi t h a k i I 
I lud was stronger louder 
and more playable than 
what I had. Yd play il So 
they t ame up with tins 
incredible heavy rut k kit 
with eight ply bin h shells, 
heavy-duty machined hoops 
and a pair of 20" bass 
drums that are like bloodv 
cannons. Anti sime I'm a 
very heavy player who 
needs a lot of volume, 

\ amah as are perfet, t lor me 
Anti I he sound just takes 
oil the projection is fan 
t as I it so I tan gel a lot ol 
volume without straining 
I here isn't an elec Irk 
guitarist in the world who 
t an intimidate me, and I've 
played with the loudest. 
Yamaha drums just cut 
through better, like a good 
stiletto They have the fat¬ 
test, warmesl, most power¬ 
ful sound of any kit I've 
played ami they can really 
take it* For my style, 

Yamaha is I he perfet t all- 
around rot k kit For more 
information, write: Yamaha 
Musical Products. A Divi¬ 
sion of Yamaha interna¬ 
tional ( Yirp Box 7271. 

(hand Rapids. Ml 44510 


©YAMAHA 


Garage, it was kind of difficult for me be¬ 
cause the drum head had a dent in the mid¬ 
dle of it in order to get that fat snare sound. 
But like now, I've got a snare drum that's a 
5 1/4" and I've got it tuned to an acutal tone 
and I can actually get a rebound out of the 
head and it actually sounds deep enough. 
It's something I can't exactly explain. I 
think tuning is real personal. 

RF: You sit very low. 

VC: I always use a Tama drum seat be¬ 
cause they seem to go real low, or at least 
when I discovered it, it seemed that it was 
the lowest one. I had a roadie chop it off so 
it would go lower. 

RF: Why? 

VC: Because I was real comfortable sitting 
like that. It didn't even go quite low 
enough. I wanted to sit lower, but now I 
don't chop the seat anymore. I just sit as 
low as it will go—and it's still pretty low. I 
get a lot of power out of my feet that way 
too. It never affected my leverage or my 
speed that much, especially not now be¬ 
cause I don't chop it. It's comfortable for 
me. I mean, my knees aren't up to my chin 
or anything. I felt uncomfortable sitting 
real high. It just never felt good. 

RF: How do you feel about drum com¬ 
puters, etc.? 

VC: I've been kind of toying around with 
the idea of a digital drum set-up. I thought 
about it; not just interfacing a Linn Ma¬ 
chine with drums, but like when I heard 
about these Simmons Electronic Drums, I 
thought if these things had a digital brain 
happening and the playing surfaces them¬ 
selves are touch sensitive, then that is it! It 
turns out that they weren't. They are just a 
regular old beefed-up Syndrum type scene 
with a bunch of tone generators and oscil¬ 
lators. When I found it out, I was kind of 
bummed out. The guy said I could buy one 
of these things and hook it up to a Linn 
Machine and have the digital sounds with 
the Linn Machine so when you hit the Sim¬ 
mons pad, you hear the digitally-pro¬ 
grammed sound in the Linn Machine. It 
would be touch sensitive, but it would be 
what you physically played with the time 
element the way you played it, as opposed 
to your programming a beat into it and ad¬ 
justing it to perfect time. 

RF: You obviously don't like that. 

VC: Well, l don' idislike it. It serves a pur¬ 
pose and as a matter of fact, I think it 
serves a wonderful purpose. But I don't 
think it serves a purpose of replacing 
drummers or the purpose of creating new 
jokes about drummers, like, "What hap¬ 
pens if your drummer doesn't show up or 
if he shows up an hour late ..." Come 
on! You gotta program the machine and if 
the thing messes up and fries a chip or 
something, then you're out of luck. And it 
only plays what you programmed into it; it 
doesn't have a mind and it can't jam. But 
it's a wonderful addendum and something 
that's an addition. I've played around with 


56 


NOVEMBER 





the Linn Machine and I've dug it, but what 
bugs me is, cats will get it and get carried 
away. Frank got one. I was rehearsing with 
him to go on tour and he brought the LM-1 
to rehearsal. I was messing around with it 
and finally he came up to me and said, 
"Why don't you just take that on tour? 
Take the LM-l on tour and a couple of in¬ 
cidental tom-toms to bang on. Play the 
Linn Machine as your primary axe and just 
take a couple of tom-toms to play fills 
on." Give me a break! Months later I 
called him and he was telling me he had all 
these tracks with the Linn Machine. I went 
up there expecting miracles. I figured he 
could just push the buttons to his heart's 
content and get anything he wanted out of 
it. I walked out of there a little let down. 
I've heard that thing on a number of al¬ 
bums. Some albums I've heard it on, it 
sounded great and others it sounded like 
shit. 

RF: What, to you, is a good solo? 

VC: About the only thing I can say about 
that is, to me, a good solo is something that 
makes sense musically in a way that is over¬ 
all one complete musical statement. But 
within itself, it has to tell some kind of a 
story where the whole thing starts at one 
point, goes to a climax and has an end and 
is a statement, regardless of whether it has 
sections to it or it is a free-form solo. I sup¬ 
pose, depending on the type of solo, if it's 
a live situation where you have to capture 
the audience's attention, you have to really 
think, to a certain extent, about being ef¬ 
fective. You can't lose them with anything 
that's too cerebral and you have to think of 
the stuff that's going to be effective. You 
have to think about the form and make a 
valid statement for that particular song. 
That's pretty much what interests me. As 
far as effectiveness goes, again, I suppose 
it depends on the tune, the audience, and 
whether or not it's a concert situation or 
say, a jazz situation. When I was playing 
solos with Frank, it varied. I would play a 
solo in the same place every night and I 
would try to do things that were effective 
and things the audiences would enjoy. Af¬ 
ter a while, I got to the point where I said, 
"Can I solo on a different tune tonight?" 
That's just where my head is at about it. 
I'm not the type of person who can say, 
"I've got this solo worked out and dig 
this!" To me, that's where I'm going to 
improvise. So I improvise and if it gets to 
the point where I don't feel I have anything 
to say on a particular tune, I don't want to 
do it. Sometimes it's like, "Let me trade 
fours with the bass player on this funk tune 
and maybe I'll have something to say." 
Maybe I just don't want to do a solo. I 
have nothing to say and that's the only 
kind of soloing that interests me. If I have 
to play a solo at a certain place and I'm 
getting paid for it, if I'm capable of doing 
it, by all means, I'll do it though. 

RF: To you, playing with a good bass 


player is really important. 

VC: Yeah, it is. 

RF : What do you look for in a bass player? 
VC: Someone who is just comfortable to 
play with. The bass player and the drum¬ 
mer have to have a communication. It's 
one thing to have a bass player who'll play 
to try to make the drummer sound good. 
But if the bass player and the drummer 
share a similar concept of the way they 
play time, if that's happening, if you both 
individually have good time to begin with 
and you can fit together, it's great. It's 
funny, because there are a lot of bass play¬ 
ers and drummers who have great time, 
but for some reason, they just don't mesh. 
Like Stube and I, when we play, it's second 
nature. I know the way he plays and he 
knows the way I play and it fits perfectly. 
There's a communication there and that's 
just magic. 

When you have players that are real 
competant, or more than just competant, 
you never know what's going to happen as 
far as spontaneity, the magic and the en¬ 
ergy. Jeff Berlin and I play a lot of gigs and 
we just go for it. Some of the things that 
happen are just great. At any given mo¬ 
ment, something magical could happen. A 
lot of times, I play gigs like that and I wish 
I had a little tape recorder going. I used to 
get together with this sax player and we'd 
just get together on sax and drums. But in a 
regular rhythm-section context, the bass 
player is real important. It's definitely the 
bottom line to making a track happen. 

RF : What was the band Karizma that you 
were in? 

VC: It was an original band with a bunch 
of real good musicians in town here. I got 
in that band during the time that I was still 
with Frank, but off the road, which was 
1979 through the middle of 1981. We used 
to play the Baked Potato for about a year 
every Tuesday and then we took some time 
off and went back in for about four 
months and played on Sundays. It was a 
bunch of local guys playing original tunes 
and they were great writers too. We really 
had a good time doing that and we 
stretched a lot, to the point where we'd just 
play what we wanted. Creatively, there 
was a lot of energy and the tunes were 
great. 

RF: What about the band you're playing 
with locally now? Is that because you 
really feel the need to play live? 

VC: It's good, because I need a good bal¬ 
ance of live and studio playing. All those 
guys are great musicians and the tunes are 
fun and it's just a real fun situation. It's 
three nights a week and it's great to have a 
place to do that. It's real organized and 
structured, but we can stretch also and it's 
a real stimulating situation. 

RF: Is there a goal either to continue the 
studio scene or be a member of a band? 
VC: Let me put it this way: I don't think 
the studio is an end in itself, but on the 
continued on next page 




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NOVEMBER 1982 


57 


















// Protect ^ 

Your 


MB’s 



Back issues of Modern 
Drummer are fast be¬ 
coming collectors 
items. Protect your in¬ 
vestment with these 
new, deluxe magazine 
files. A great, inexpen¬ 
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PO Box 25-MD 
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 


other hand, I wouldn't feel insulted if I 
were a full-time studio musician. I love do¬ 
ing it. Some guys have the attitude of, 
"You want to be a session player for the 
rest of your life?" I say, "What the hell is 
wrong with that?" On the other hand, it's 
not something that I'm saying to myself, 
"Yes, this is it! I've found my holy grail 
and that's it." I'm just enjoying it for the 
moment. If somebody came along and I 
was offered a position in some band that 
was musically great, and/or offered me the 
chance to enjoy some sort of unbelievable 
financial wealth and/or status, I certainly 
wouldn't reject it. It's hard to find that 
kind of situation where the chemistry 
works out and everybody gets along. Or if 
it's not a band that's established and 
you've got a bunch of guys who want to 
start a band, that's tough too. Every once 
in a while I get a creative urge to write also, 
and I've often wondered if I have any tal¬ 
ent that lies in that direction. But I'm just 
going to take it as it comes. I'm not push¬ 
ing anything. I'd like to try to learn more 
about that kind of stuff, get a piano in the 
house and sit down and mess around and 
write tunes and see if I can come up with 
anything. Right now, though, I'm just 
concentrating on my career as a player and 
trying to have that be my musical medium. 
I have a lot of real misty visions of the fu¬ 
ture, but who knows what the future holds 
for all of us? I don't really know what to 
prepare for. I've done a lot of preparation 
for what I do now, so I feel like I'm still 
beginning at what I'm doing. So I try to 
concentrate on that full time. It's hard. It's 
like a big scene being in L.A. and working 
as an independent person. It takes up a lot 
of my mental energy. 

RF: We once started a conversation about 
channeling hyper energy and I am sure that 
is a problem a lot of drummers have. Can 
you shed any light on the subject? 

VC: It takes a lot of mental discipline, I 
think. In a recent issue of Modern Drum¬ 
mer, Roy Burns wrote an article about 
overcoming the "horribles," which was an 
excellent article. I've had people come up 
to me and say things like, "Are you going 
to go out and take it all out on the drums?" 
To me, that is a total misconception. I 
know a lot of drummers who are really en¬ 
ergetic and are real relaxed human beings. 
I'm just not that way. But when that green 
light goes on, you just have to turn on the 
switch. It's funny, though, because in 
terms of getting nervous or anything like 
that, it takes a lot of mental discipline, 
which I think is often a collective kind of 
thing. Say for example, you're in the stu¬ 
dio trying to cut a track and you've got 
three people cutting a track and everybody 
is nervous. If you sit there and try to make 
yourself calm and the other people are still 
nervous, it won't work. Everybody has to 
be cool. If you're nervous and everybody 
else is cool, then it's just on you and it's 


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something you just have to develop. It's 
just a matter of fully concentrating on 
what you're doing at that moment and 
that's it; just pure concentration without 
any kind of nervousness. Channeling en¬ 
ergy for me has a lot to do with the stimuli I 
get from the other musicians, too. If every¬ 
body is starting to crank and other peo¬ 
ple's creative juices start to flow and I'm 
really concentrating on the music, I can re¬ 
ally pick up on it. It's really an admirable 
quality to see somebody who has a real 
shitty scene at home and his dog just died 
and then he goes into the club and plays his 
ass off. You have to shut a lot of that out. 
It's hard to do, but someone like that just 
has his concentration completely on the 
music. 

RF: Is there a way you strive to get a bal¬ 
ance in your life? 

VC: Yes there is, but I'm not sure I've 
found the answer. It depends on my entire 
existence, where I live, what my domestic 
situation is like, what's happening to me 
musically and just trying to be strong in 
general, mentally. It's something I can't 
really provide the answer to because it's a 
day to day experience and struggle. But as 
you saunter through the giant Maytag of 
life's expectations, find out your own 
needs and weaknesses and be true to your¬ 
self. 



58 


NOVEMBER 

















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Charles Alden Music Co., Inc., PO. Box 231, Walpole Industrial Park, 4 Industrial Rd., Walpole, MA 02081 

(617)668-5600 




p 





Jazz Triplets as 
Rhythmic Embellishments 


by Guy A. Remonko 

A simple rhythmic figure can be embellished by adding triplets as 
filler notes. The embellishment is often a spontaneous reaction, or 
it is improvised while reading a figure from a chart. 


A 

lit think Lili =i 
tnhdB&fanl 


1 - 




J 3 


n L L H L L PI L i R L L H J. R L L R L L F L L P 


In this basic example you'll notice that: (1) Projection of the 
original rhythmic idea is achieved through accent placement. (2) 
All accents are right-hand strokes. (3) The sticking pattern is a jazz 
triplet sticking (RLL or LLR) which generates a different flow and 
feel than alternate sticking. 

To develop your ability to improvise the filler notes, use four 
stickings. 

I* H 


Ilf 


RLL 


0 0 


L L Ft 


131# * # 

URL 


ML# # 0 

n l n 


Sticking number four has dual accent possibilities and will fulfill 
this need with either/or both right-hand strokes receiving an 
accent as needed. 

We can now study a more syncopated figure: 

V 


m 0 


- A 


The embellished version looks like this: 

Ex. I) 3 ___ i __ 

\ 4 J J 4 W 4 m 4 4 

HLFtLLRRLLRLL 

Here's a more complex example: 

t.x. 1 


i 


# # ** m* f" \ ‘i *1^ ^ * ? * 


For this abstract syncopated figure, think of this concept: All 
notes on down beats are R's. The other notes are L's. The embel¬ 
lished version is: 


I 


I .. I ******** 

R l L H L t I P L R f| I HRLRH|fl||Rn 


To further develop your improvisational abilities, you'll need 
extra practice material. A beginning snare drum method, like Vari¬ 
ations of Drumming by Ralph Pace, or Ted Reed's Progressive 
Steps to Syncopation would be of value. Use only those sections 
that have a mixture of quarter notes and eighth notes. If you 
choose the beginning book, the exercises would be used as follows: 


Ex, G 


« * 0 J 4 


The embellished version would be: 

Ex. H l 

4 J J d S J 


m J S S 


R L LFlULRtRRLL 

Continue to work progressively, gradually moving into the more 
■syncopated sections of the book. When you're satisfied with your 
■progress, you can apply the embellishment concept to the entire 
idrumset. The basic stickings should now be practiced as follows: 


hv 3 


*1 ) 


Gym ^ 

Sn. J 0 

P.D. J 


m 


J 7 


L L 


j 


This involves using the bass drum and cymbal for accents. The 
remaining notes are played on the snare or toms. Remember to 
listen, balance and blend the various components of the kit. When 
accents occur on the left hand, use the hi-hat or any convenient 
cymbal. Reinforce that cymbal or hi-hat stroke with the bass drum 
also. 

This technique can be applied to actual performance in the fol¬ 
lowing ways: 

1) Solos, and development of solo ideas. 

2) Tension creating device (interspersed with a "time" figure). 

3) As a means of buying time at a slow or medium swing tempo 
when phrasing with the band. 

4) As a busy reinforcement of an ensemble figure when more 
rhythmic activity is called for. 


MD readers can write to Guy Remonko at 2 Julian Drive, Ath¬ 
ens, OH 45701. 


ii 


60 


N0VFM3FR 






















SIMMONS ELECTRONIC DRUMS 



ii,s.a. distribution, group centre inc., p.o. box no 1444, reseda, California 91335 


NOVEMBER 1982 


61 












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Altschul continuedfrom page 15 

it has to do with how yu feel, too. If the band is feeling good and 
having a good time up there, the audience does pick up on that and 
they start to have a good time too. 

Music is a very powerful force. Technology is now involved with 
sonic machines for hospitals. The machines send out certain notes 
that correspond to certain organs in the body and promote healing. 
In ancient times, in India, they did it with the voice. People sang 
notes to different parts of the body. Music also affects your moods, 
and a lot of other things. Most pop music, I think, is geared to a 
certain level that just deals with the physical. It doesn't get too 
involved with the spiritual, emotional or intellectual levels. It's 
mostly about physical expression using one or two emotions. I 
have nothing against that, but there's a lot more that music can 
convey besides just a physical expression of sexuality. But most 
pop music is just dealing on that level, and so it appeals mainly to 
teenagers who are dealing with their own puberty for the first time. 
And they buy most of the records. 

It's interesting that jazz seems to last through all the genera¬ 
tions, whereas most commercial music just has short periods of 
success. It makes enormous amounts of money, but has short peri¬ 
ods of success. So it's really not that lasting. I was watching a 
television quiz show, and one of the questions was, "Who was the 
only artist to have million-selling records over four decades?" 
There's only one person: Frank Sinatra. Now a lot of people may 
put Sinatra down, but he has sung the music that he wanted in such 
a way that he's made the audiences dig it. I think that's possible in 
every area of music. In jazz music, Coltrane records are still sell¬ 
ing, Miles' records are selling, Bird records are selling—not in the 
large numbers, but over a period of years it adds up. Whereas the 
pop music that was big in the '50s is gone. Some of it is re-emerging 
as nostalgia, but that's only because the industry is searching for 
something different and can't find it. Instead of trying to upgrade 
the listening ability of the people, they're going backwards to the 
more simplified, less meaningful music. 

RM: What about the idea that each new generation needs to start 
with something simple? 

BA: I think for the listener, whatever you put on them when 
they're young will become their basis. When a friend of mine, the 
late drummer Stu Martin, became a father, he programmed a syn¬ 
thesizer to lull the baby to sleep. Now the kid is ten years old, he 
plays drums, and is involved in all kinds of music. For his own 
intellectual level at this point, he's into The Police. But he also 
listens to 1957 Miles Davis, and he listen to [Anthony] Braxton, 
and he listens to electronic music. It's the environment. So I think 
that if you put very complex music on the younger generation from 
the beginning, sure, they'll start with that. A lot of fifteen and 
sixteen year-olds were listening to John McLaughlin and the fusion 
people, and what Chick [Corea] was doing with his commercial 
music was more complex than a lot of the other music. If you just 
start putting this music on the radio along with everything else, 
more people will buy it, more people will be exposed to it, and 
more people will understand it. But for some reason, the media is 
afraid to give the people in America what is actually going on crea¬ 
tively. It's all formulated: if this works, let's use it until it stops 
working and then go to the next formula. 

RM: Speaking of formulas, this is the age of drum machines and 
click tracks. These things are used in the interest of having perfect 
time, but what is the relationship between perfect time and good 
time? 

BA: Perfect time is for machines; good time is for humans. Every¬ 
body vibrates at a different speed, everybody's heartbeat is a little 
different, the way people approach a beat is different. When you 
get excited, you sometimes rush. When you're bored, or your mind 
wanders, you sometimes drag. Those are the human qualities in the 
music. Of course, the less you do that the better it is for certain 
musical ends. 

Originally, the click track was for films, because you had to play 
the music within a certain amount of time within the scene. Then 


64 


NOVEMBER 
















they started using it in disco music because that's for dancing and it 
has to be steady. But I don't think that when you're playing a 
concert you want to use a click track. I certainly wouldn't use a 
click track to play improvised music. It would take away part of 
the human element that is so necessary for that music. 

As far as the electronic drum thing is concerned, there again, it's 
synthetic. The sound is synthetic, the feel is synthetic—it's just not 
the same. With a lot of the drum synthesizers, you don't have to 
know anything about drums to be able to play them. You just have 
to know about the synthesizer. Now the synthesizer is a valid in¬ 
strument, but I wouldn't call a person who plays the drum synthe¬ 
sizer a drummer. A drummer plays the drums. A synthesizer player 
plays the synthesizer, whether it's a keyboard synthesizer or a 
drum synthesizer or whatever. It's another instrument. I mean, I 
totally believe in new instruments. It's a new time, a new age, there 
should be some new instruments. But not to take the place of other 
instruments. A lot of times, they're using synthesizers just to copy 
other instruments. Why should I copy another instrument when I 
can get the real instrument? That's one of the reasons I use percus¬ 
sion instruments as part of my drumset. I found that some of the 
textures that synthesizers give off can be brought in with acoustic 
percussion instruments. So in that sense, I guess electronics have 
been an influence on me, along with Spike Jones, [laughs] 

RM: I would have said Baby Dodds. 

BA: Oh, of course, Baby Dodds was . . . well, actually, "trap 
drumming" meant not only playing the drumset, but also playing 
the "trappings" which were the percussion instruments, sound ef¬ 
fects, and things like that. So sure, it's a very old tradition. 

RM: So you like the idea of new instruments, but for yourself, you 
choose to play the traditional instruments. 

BA: Right. I would, for example, play in a band with someone else 
playing them. We would play together. But I want to play these 
drums. I kind of feel that maybe a synthesizer player shouldn't 
/zr^beapianist, or shouldn't first be a whatever. They shouldjust 
learn the synthesizer. That's the instrument. It's a universe in it¬ 
self. 

RM: So anyway, people are trying to apply things like click tracks 
to jazz. 

BA: Well, that's a big mistake. If you are relying on the machine, 
that means you have to listen to the machine and the other musi¬ 
cians are listening to you, who are listening to the machine—it's so 
far removed from the moment that for improvisational music, it's 
much less spontaneous. You know, sometimes a tune will start off 
too slow, and the mood of the evening is not that slow. So someone 
in the band starts to pick up the tempo a little, and everybody 
agrees, so you all go there. That's part of the moment of improvi¬ 
sational music—to make it feel the best at that moment, by com¬ 
mon agreement of everybody in the band. Also, a machine can't 
swing. 

RM: In classical music, a piece may have a basic tempo, but within 
that there will be ritards and accelerandos. Just little things . . . 
BA: But see, a lot of those minor things—those subtle things—are 
not being used anymore in commercial music. In improvisational 
music it's a necessary part. In most pop music, dynamics, for ex¬ 
ample, are just not happening. It's about how loud you can play. 
To play soft is, first, unheard of, and second, people can't do it. 
They approach softness with a different intensity than they ap¬ 
proach loudness. You can approach both with the same intensity, 
except it's a different dynamic level. That's all. And most pop 
drummers don't know how to play with brushes. So a lot of the 
serious study that's being going on for years within the evolution 
of the drums is being disregarded. It should be the opposite way. 
Everything that has been done should be used, and everyone 
should still be thinking up new things to use in addition to what's 
already available. 

RM: Could you explain your concept of playing "implied" time? 
BA: By that I mean time that is felt, but is not stated. Technically 

continued on next page 



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speaking, it's like you eliminate bar lines from tunes, but the speed 
of the tune is still the same. It would be more horizontal, or circu¬ 
lar, than linear. For example, picture a clock with a second hand. 
If you take away all of the little things that mark each second, it 
still takes the hand the same amount of time to make a revolution, 
but in between, it's more flexible. So it's about speed and motion 
rather than about tempo. 

RM: That makes me think of chord voicings—you don't have to 
play all of the notes to hear the whole chord. 

BA: Right, exactly. You imply the time, just like you can imply the 
fifth of the chord. With all of the sound and motion and energy 
you're setting up, the tempo would also be felt. But it's not actually 
stated. 

RM: Another term I've heard you use is "non-time." 

BA: I guess if you want to verbalize it, non-time is like a European 
classical approach to percussion where you're dealing with space, 
sound, color and texture, rather than time signatures and rhythm 
patterns and so forth. In other words, it's not used as a cushion for 
the band; it's not like everyone is going to lean back on you to keep 
the time. You're going to become part of the total sound that's 
going on, in a freer, improvisational sense. 

RMiThat leads into free playing. A lot of people take that to mean 
that you do what you want, when you want; no rules. 

BA: Oh no, that's absolutely false. Free playing means different 
things to different people, I suppose. To me, free playing means 
having the vocabulary on hand to be able to play anything that 
happens at the time in a band, with complete agreement from ev¬ 
eryone else in the band. For example, if you're improvising in a 
certain area, and all of a sudden the creative energy has been used 
up, then someone else who has the creative energy at that moment 
becomes the band leader and changes the direction. In order for 
that to work, everybody has to agree. And you have to be able to go 
in that direction spontaneously. It's like, the more words you 
know, the more things you can talk about; the more you can ex¬ 
press yourself. So the more you know about playing different areas 
of music, the freer you are. 

RM: Someone might interpret that to mean, "The more tech¬ 
niques you know, the freer you are." 

BA: What if you think of something to play that doesn't have a 
standard technique? That's what jazz cats have been doing since 
jazz was born. All of a sudden, you want to play something that a 
flam doesn't encompass, or a paradiddle doesn't encompass, or 
anything else. What is it? Maybe it's a flubadub. I don't know, but 
you play this flubadub, and the only way to play this thing is to use 
the technique you discovered to play it. So you have added to the 
standard technique by playing this thing. And if you can use it 
musically—it works! There is no right and wrong. If it's musical, it 
works. So just to sit and practice standardized techniques from 
drum books will not make you freer. The concept makes you freer, 
not your technique. 

I don't really feel there is anything all that new. I just think there 
are different ways of putting things together to make them different 
or fresh. The thing about technique is, it should become as easy to 
you as talking. As we're having this conversation, I'm not really 
thinking about each word. You ask me a question, and that stimu¬ 
lates something in me and I give you an answer, and my answer 
stimulates something in you and you give me a reply, and so on. 
We're not thinking about each word before we say it. It's the same 
thing with playing—you don't think about what you're doing 
when you play. It becomes second nature. You hear something to 
play and it comes out. Now that's what practicing technique is 
really supposed to be about: to develop this second nature, so that 
whatever you hear is translated into this technical thing to get it 
out. And that's where it stops. 

RM: So when you're playing, you don't listen to yourself; you just 
listen to what the other musicians are doing and react to it. 

BA: Right. If you are thinking about what you are playing, then 
you are not in exactly the same place as everybody else. You're not 
in a group consciousness—you're in your own consciousness. 


66 


NOVEMBER 












Therefore, your involvement in the music is not as full as you 
might think it is. Now you might be cutting the music, but your 
involvement isn't there. So if you're listening to yourself, while 
you are thinking about what you just played, the other cats in the 
band are on the next note. So you're not in the same place with 
them—you're a step behind. You have to listen to the other cats in 
the band, because that's what a band is all about—a group of peo¬ 
ple playing music. The music is the sum of all the parts; the parts 
are the musicians. If you're not in the same place, it's like a puzzle 
with one of the pieces sticking up. 

RM: What about planning in advance? You know the bridge is 
coming up so you plan how you are going to play it. 

BA: Well, here again, my main experience is with improvised mu¬ 
sic. Unless the composer has specified that the bridge should be 
Latin or something, I don't really think about what I'm going to 
do. For improvised music, it could be too planned for that mo¬ 
ment. 

RM: When playing free—something that doesn't involve time or a 
standard song form—what are some of the considerations for 
structuring your playing? 

BA: Melody, motion, color, texture—I feel rhythm is inherent in 
the instrument, so except for developing a good time sense or flow, 
one doesn't have to think rhythmically in free music. You can play 
melodically, simply by going to certain sounds for certain parts of 
the melody. So that would give a certain contour to what you're 
playing. Also, you can deal with other aspects of life in the music. 
For example, if you're playing a piece with no time in it, you can 
deal with trying to play the sound of waves hitting against the rocks 
in the ocean. The splash of the water goes in so many different 
directions, and it's a wave of sound instead of a linear thing. Or 
you could deal with the sound of two trucks crashing, with the 
pieces falling in no real pattern of time. So you could think like 
that. In certain free music, that's what happens. A lot of people say 
that free music is chaotic. Well, chaos is a part of life, and so that's 


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one element that is in the music. So sometimes there's chaos, but 
also there's beauty, and there's everything. That's what impro¬ 
vised music deals with—as much of the emotional scale as is possi¬ 
ble for the musicians to project. Whereas commercial music is 
quite limited to certain emotions that they want to stimulate in 
people who listen to that music. 

RM: Changing the subject entirely, when you hear a drummer, do 
you care what kind of equipment is being used? 

BA: No, not really. I mean, if something sounds great I might say 
"What kind of cymbal is that?" or something. But no, I don't 
care. When I was very young, being brought up in New York, I was 
very fortunate to have personal relationships with great drum¬ 
mers. And when I was about sixteen years old, Philly Joe Jones 
said to me, "You should be able to play on anybody's instrument, 
without changing anything, play like you, and get your sound." 
Good musicians will get whatever they want out of whatever they 
play. Of course, it will be easier for them to play on the kind of 
equipment they like, but then again, the challenge of playing on 
something else might make you do something you never did be¬ 
fore. But no, I don't care what drumset Jack is using, or Billy, or 
Elvin. I'm interested in Jack and Billy and Elvin—how they play 
the instrument. The instrument does not play any of us; we play the 
instrument. 

RM: So many people are concerned with equipment. 

BA: Maybe they think a better drumset will make them play better. 
That's not true. A good drumset will maybe hold up better on the 
road. If your drums get knocked around a lot you might need 
heavy-duty hardware so it doesn't break. Okay, that's fine. But as 
far as making you play better, I don't think the drumset has any¬ 
thing to do with it. All a drumset gives you is an avenue for sound. I 
don't think the master drummers go to a particular drumset be¬ 
cause it's a great drum. I mean, there are special drums. I have a 
couple of snare drums that I feel are very special. But most of the 
drums that are made with today's technology are good drumsets. 
A lot of the cats, for example, will play the drumset where the 
company gives them the best deal. It's not making them play better 
or worse. It's like, "This is the company that's giving me the deal; 
I'll set up the drums the way I like them, I'll get the sound I want, 
and I'll play 'em." The cats that are really into the drums will be 
able to play any drumset. As a matter of fact, sometimes it might 
be better to start on a terrible, beat-up old drumset so you learn 
how to get a sound. If you can get a sound out of a beat-up old set 
of drums, then when you get a good set of drums, you'll really be 
able to get a sound. 

But then again, in the pop music that's happening now, people 
aren't interested in sound. They're deadening the sound and mak¬ 
ing it sound like a piece of paper with no tone to the drum. When 
they say, "I have a great snare drum," it's because it's loud and 
cuts through all the electricity. I don't feel the pop drummers of 
today are involved in the sound that the instrument can give. To¬ 
day, you have to learn how to stick newspaper inside the drums, 
rather than learn how to get tone out of the drums. 

RM: Would you ever be willing to play any commercial music? 
BA: I' ve done that. I have nothing against the commercial music 
providing that I can feel an honesty in the people who are perform¬ 
ing it. If I don't feel that honesty, it's a drag. It's also a matter of 
ability; it's like some people can do a certain thing and some people 
can do another thing. I did some studio dates for Phil Spector in 
the early '60s that were hit records for their time. I did an album 
with Buddy Guy, which was all blues. So I've done various things 
like that. I enjoy it for the flash; for the difference. But I don't want 
to make a career out of it. I don't even want to do it for long 
periods of time. I turned down a gig with Jimi Hendrix, and I 
turned down a gig with LaBelle because they wanted long-term 
commitments. I would love to make a lot of money, but I'd love to 
do it playing the music that I feel I play the best, and in which I feel 
that I can offer some kind of contribution. I don't want to play 
music that I know will make money, but will limit my own poten- 

“■ i 


68 


NOVEMBER 
























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History of Rock Drumming continued from page 19 

served as a role model for the studio drummers who came after 
him. (Look for a Jim Gordon interview in the Jan. '83 MD). 

Last, but not least, Carl Palmer blew lots of people's minds with 
his drumming in Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It was written that, 
"After their first appearance in the Fillmore East in New York 
City in May 1971, the Cash Box critic stated emphatically, 'Emer¬ 
son, Lake and Palmer have no faults.' " 

Carl had enormous technical facility—he'd started out to be a 
jazz drummer—and began his professional career with The Crazy 
World of Arthur Brown and then The Atomic Rooster. Brown had 
a hit called "Fire" in 1968. ELP's debut album was Emerson, 
Lake and Palmer, followed by Tarkus and then Pictures at an Ex¬ 
hibition, both in 1971. Fans loved the band, but soon after '71 the 
music was called "techno-rock" and if the sales of records were 
any indication of their popularity, ELP had lost much of its popu¬ 
larity. Finally, Carl, Keith and Gregg went separate ways (although 
Palmer insisted the group hadn't broken up), and Carl went to 
work rehearsing a band called PM. When that didn't get off the 
ground he became part of a supergroup called Asia. 

In a Down Beat interview, Carl discussed his own conception: 
"My approach, in general, is to be as musical as possible. My own 
personal attitude toward percussion has been to develop two 
things: the technical side of it and the musical side of it. To commit 
yourself to one style inhibits your progress." 

After 1971 ticked past we'd seen Stephen Bladd with the J. Geils 
Band, John Willie Wilcox with Todd Rundgren, John Hartman and 
Keith Knudsen with The Doobie Brothers, Tris Emboden with 
Loggins and Messina, Albert Bouchard with Blue Oyster Cult. 
ELO introduced Bev Bevan, and Cat Stevens, in the singer/ 
songwriter tradition, had a string of tremendously successful Lp's, 
especially Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat. 


Stevens' drummers were Harvey Burns and Gerry Conway . 

Styx began recording in 1971. John Panozzo, on the band's first 
hit single "Lady," brought in a Bolero rhythm! He continues to 
draw from various influences and it's a credit to both he and the 
other members of Styx that they're able to create popular sounds 
from such varied influences. (Panozzo was interviewed in the July 
'82 MD.) 

A funk group called Tower of Power came out of the Bay Area 
of California in 1971 with East Bay Grease. Drummer David Gari¬ 
baldi made everybody take notice of his funk style. Together with 
conga percussionist Brent Byars, they formed a killer drum sec¬ 
tion. Garibaldi's time was impeccable—it had to be for him to 
work out the beautiful musical patterns he played. Tower of Power 
disbanded, and Garibaldi left around the mid-'70s to pursue spirit¬ 
ual studies. He worked with a band called Takit for a while and 
he's been the winner of the R&B Drummer category for the past 
four years in the MD Reader's Poll. Presently, David is doing clin¬ 
ics, teaching privately, and playing with various groups on the 
West Coast. "My style or feeling on drums is what many people 
consider a black style," Garibaldi told Down Beat magazine. 
"But, there are a lot of players that have that feel. There's one 
drummer I don't want to forget to mention so younger drummers 
who haven't gotten into him will hopefully do it now. He's Mel 
Lewis. I used to listen to him on old records of Maynard Ferguson. 
Mel is doing all this great left hand stuff all the rock and roll play¬ 
ers are trying to get into now." 

Andy Newmark left a strong impression on the music scene for 
his drumming on Carly Simon's hit single, "Anticipation." New¬ 
mark went on to record with Sly Stone, particularly on a track 
called "In Time" which again blew everybody's mind. That track 
in particular turned into a tremendous favorite with jazz players. 
The album Fresh was used extensively by Miles Davis as an instruc¬ 
tion record for his band. Newmark remains a top session player, 
turning up on albums such as John Lennon's Double Fantasy. 

Drummers Howard Grimes and A1 Jackson were working with 
A1 Green to knock out a new sound. Green's records were arguably 
the first to feature the drummer playing a backbeat on a tom-tom 
instead of a snare drum. Green said, "A1 Jackson was the most 
influential drummer that I have ever known. He played things that 
wouldn't normally be played. So, when we had the misfortune of 
losing A1 Jackson it kind of dampened my spirits as far as the 
package was concerned because I rode on the rhythmic patterns 
that he played." 

Isaac Hayes wrote the music for the movie Shaft. The drumming 
on that record started a new trend, particularly with the sixteenth 
notes on the hi-hat. 

Maurice White had been a jazz drummer and a session player at 
Chess Records in Chicago. Among other veteran jazz musicians, 
he'd worked with Ramsey Lewis. Jazz artists like Les McCann, 
Ramsey Lewis, and The Crusaders, along with Sly Stone from the 
rock side, inspired a while new assault of black bands like the Ohio 
Players, War, Kool and The Gang and perhaps the most powerful 
and far reaching of them all—Earth, Wind and Fire. MD correspon¬ 
dent Robyn Flans did an excellent interview with the band's percus¬ 
sionists: Ralph Johnson, Freddie White and Philip Bailey in the 
Feb./Mar. '82 issue. All three are tremendously talented drummers 
with a firm grasp of jazz and rock. Maurice White also found ways 
of introducing traditional African instruments, such as the kalimba, 
in the band's repertoire. E, W & F is still going strong today and 
they've had hits like "That's The Way of The World," "Shining 
Star" and "After The Love Is Gone." 

Rod Stewart's first real claim to fame came with the 1981 release 
of Every Picture Tells A Story and the hit single "Maggie May." 
The drummer on the date was Mickey Waller, another rock solid 
English drummer. Waller had teamed up with Stewart in Jeff 
Beck's band on an album called Truth released in 1968 and Beck- 
Ola in'69. 

Marvin Gaye rhythmically broke out of the somewhat tradi- 


70 


NOVEMBER 





tional Motown mold with his "concept" album, What's Going On, 
in 1971. 

In 1972 Corky Laing reappeared with West, Bruce & Laing, a 
short-lived power trio. Foghat started kicking out their versions of 
essentially British blues/rock with Roger Earl on drums. Steely 
Dan's first record was released, called Can't Buy A Thrill, with 
drummer Jim Hodder. The writing team of Becker and Fagen pre¬ 
sented some challenges with the other "band" members. They 
didn't want to tour, for one thing. So, the band broke up, and in 
1975, Katy Lied came out with Jeff Porcaro on drums. 

Jeff Porcaro became one of the top studio drummers; one of 
those guys where it would be easier to name the people he hasn't 
played with than the people he has. Jeff's drumming has always 
been poignant and correct. 

Don Henley was a founding member (and drummer) of The Ea¬ 
gles in 1972. All of the members, including Henley, had experience 
in many other rock groups such as Poco, Flying Burrito Brothers 
and Linda Ronstadt's backup band. The Eagles were unquestiona¬ 
bly one of the hot bands of the '70s. Henley was a functional 
drummer—but then again, you wouldn't want to stick Elvin Jones 
in a band like The Eagles. Henley's drumming was perfect for the 
material. Don also wrote or co-wrote much of The Eagles material 
and sang on a few of their hits. "Witchy Woman," "Take It 
Easy," "Desperado," "Hotel California" and "Life In The Fast 
Lane" were some of The Eagles hits. 

Somewhat in the wake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On al¬ 
bum, Stevie Wonder gave us a series of brilliant albums: Music of 
My Mind and Talking Book in 72 and Innervisions in 73 that 
". . . were enormous successes both critically and commercially, 
and sealed Wonder's status as the most influential and acclaimed 
black musician of the early "70s," according to Rolling Stone. The 
drummer who played on many of these records—although Won¬ 
der has a great unique style of funk drumming and played drums 
on several tracks—is Dennis Davis. The drums on Wonder's re¬ 
cords seemed to scrape away some of the "technical" aspects of 
funk drumming. Not that the rhythms weren't sophisticated, per¬ 
haps they were just more musical than anyone up to that time (with 
the possible exception of David Garibaldi in Tower of Power). 

What do Willie Nelson, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Han¬ 
cock, The Marshall Tucker Band, Bob Marley and David Bowie 
have in common? They were all making musical waves in 1973. 

Herbie Hancock, a pianist in the Miles Davis band with Tony 
Williams, branched out even further in his solo career (he'd al¬ 
ready established himself as a prolific songwriter and recorded 
some albums, such as Maiden Voyage, that became jazz classics) 
and got into jazz/rock. Headhunters was released featuring Mike 
Clarke on drums (not the same Mike Clarke from The Byrds!) and 
the sophisticated funk was penetrating. Clarke's drumming, along 
with Cobham and a few other "hot" drummers, was taking funk 
drumming to the extreme. It was fine drumming and necessary, 
but for rock music it could be paralleled with the evolution of jazz 
drumming. If you listen to, say, Elvin Jones in his peak years with 
Coltrane, and beyond Elvin to totally free-form drummers like 
Rashied Ali—it's a long way from "ding-dingda-ding"! 

Arranger Gil Evans made a comment on this era of music in an 
interview at this time. He pointed out that rock and jazz had gotten 
extremely elaborate and experimental melodically and harmoni¬ 
cally, but rhythmically it had never made such extreme steps. 
Evans said that it seemed that the pendulum of rhythm was swing¬ 
ing far left to make up for lost time, and he predicted that it would 
soon settle back to midpoint. 

In what had become country/rock music, several bands had 
sprung up in the wake of The Allman Brothers. The Marshall 
Tucker Band came out of Spartanburg, South Carolina with their 
first album The Marshall Tucker Band. They’ve had several hits 
over the years that have crossed over into pop, rock and country 
charts like "Can't You See?," "Heard It In A Love Song," and 
"Searchin" For A Rainbow." Drummer Paul T. Riddle is one of 


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the nicest guys in the business. He came up listening to jazz re¬ 
cords, and his drumming has a jazz touch. He is well aware of song 
forms and is one of those drummers who keeps growing and learn¬ 
ing. He recently started an instrumental band called The Throb- 
bers that allows him to stretch out and use his jazz roots a bit more, 
but The Tucker Band have always been improvisors. I interviewed 
Paul in the May '81 MD and asked about the Tucker Band's com¬ 
mitment to each other. He said, "When the six of us got together, 
musically speaking, it was all or nothing. And it's always been that 
way. If we fall we're gonna just all fall together. If we make it, 
we're gonna make it together." 

Also in the country/rock vein, but of a harder nature than The 
Tucker Band, came Lynyrd Skynyrd from Florida. Bob Burns was 
the original drummer and appeared on the first album, Pro¬ 
nounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd. Lillian Roxon wrote: "The key to 
Skynyrd's success, aside from their crisp, clean brand of rock, was 
their no-nonsense visual approach to music. They traveled. They 
played. Period. No frills." Burns played on "Sweet Home 
Alabama"—the band's first hit, and was replaced by Artimus Pyle 
in early 1975. 

Pyle is an extremely colorful individual, another good human 
being, and a man with more guts than most ten men put together! 
Pyle's style of drumming was "no frills" rock and roll. In 1977, 
after the release of Street Survivors, the band was involved in an 
airplane crash that took the lives of three of the band members and 
a member of the road crew. Recently, Pyle has his own band called 
the Artimus Pyle Band, still knocking out rock and roll and he is 
trying to pass on his valuable knowledge to those who are coming 
up the ranks after him. 

Another extremely popular country/rock band that came to life 
in 1973 was a band formed by a fiddle player who had been a 
Sideman on albums like Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, New Morning 

continued on next page 



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and SelfPortrait, and Ringo's Beaucoups Of Blues —Charlie Dan¬ 
iels. This was another two-drummer band with Fred Edwards and 
Don Murray originally. Murray was replaced by Gary Allen, and 
after Gary Allen left in 1976, he was replaced by Jim Marshall. Fire 
On The Mountain is arguably the most popular Charlie Daniels 
Band album, and they've had several hit singles with "Devil Went 
Down To Georgia," "Fire On The Mountain," and "The South's 
Gonna Do It." Daniels' music has always been a blend of rock, 
country fiddle tunes, and western swing, and the intensity of the 
band has varied with the different mixture of drummers. 

Disco came into vogue around 1973 with the stylings of Barry 
White and tunes like "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More 
Baby." Probably no music caused more uproar among drummers 
than disco. It was definitely "dance" music and the drummers 
played the most simplified versions of funk drumming imaginable. 
In the later '70s, artists like The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and 
Michael Jackson would have tremendous commercial success built 
on a disco format. Disco drumming was a double-edged sword. 
For years the trend had been moving towards "perfecting" a stu¬ 
dio sound in drums. Disco had a fascist effect on drumming in that 
it tried to get everybody to sound the same and succeeded to a great 
degree. 

The movie and movie soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever gave 
the call-to-arms for the whole country to go disco. Rolling Stone 
writer Tom Smucker wrote: "For everyone who had never been 
out dancing and couldn't quite figure out the scene, Saturday 
Night Fever wed the music of the Bee Gees to the unthreatening 
images of John Travolta's glides and struts. And when that wed¬ 
ding turned out to be the most lucrative in the history of pop, old 
rock stars from Rod Stewart to the Beach Boys rushed to cash in; 
radio stations didn't just add disco, they went all disco; and record 
companies competed to hire disco insiders and disco artists." 


The basic disco beat was either 1 and 3 or 1,2,3,4 on the bass 
drum, 2 and 4 on the snare, and playing the "and" of 1,2,3,4 on a 
hi-hat or bell of a cymbal. 

Kiss became a media phenomenon and easily one of the most 
popular rock bands of the '70s. Drummer Peter Criss, inspired by 
Gene Krupa, Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr, became part of what 
he called ". . . the greatest rock group in the world." Criss even 
studied with Gene Krupa for a while. In MD's Feb./Mar. '81 issue, 
he told Rick Mattingly: "I still use the things he [Krupa] showed 
me whenever I play. In fact, my solos in Kiss were often based on 
Krupa's "Drum Boogie." Peter left Kiss in 1980 because, "Kiss is 
a heavy metal band, and my material was different." He'd written 
a ballad called "Beth" which became one of the group's biggest 
hits, and none of the other band members played on the cut. While 
he was still a Kiss member, he released a solo album that went 
platinum and was nominated for two Grammy awards. His second 
solo lp, Out of Control, was released, and at present Peter is re¬ 
cording a third solo lp, that he hopes will give him more recogni¬ 
tion as a singer/songwriter. 

Elektra records released the first album by Queen in '73. One 
English writer wrote: "Queen is to heavy metal what the Vatican is 
to the local wood church. Olympian in sound, majestic in scope 
and quite pretentious in nature . . ." Most critics cite Queen as 
having a heavy Led Zeppelin influence. The Illustrated Encyclope¬ 
dia of Rock said: "In 1973-74 Led Zeppelin . . . (was) largely un¬ 
available to British audiences and along came . . . Queen." The 
theory being that if Led Zeppelin had been more visible, Queen 
wouldn't have hit as big. Being that there is really no such thing as 
"if," Queen did hit it big. Drummer Roger Taylor's style of drum¬ 
ming, coupled with bassist John Deacon, was described as ". . . 
constantly conjuring up visions of the Titanic bubbling to its 
fate." Queen always had very strong vocals and Taylor remains a 


72 


NOVEMBER 






















popular rock drummer. In the early '80s he released a solo lp called 
Fun In Space. 

Journey was formed with Aynsley Dunbar on drums, later re¬ 
placed by Steve Smith. Aerosmith featured Joey Kramer, lOcc 
brought us Paul Burgess and Stuart Tosh, Orleans (a good band 
that never quite hit a top level of success) had a super drummer in 
Wells Kelly, David Bowie knocked out some great rock using 
Woody Woodmansey, Andy Newmark and Dennis Davis. 

Reggae music took a chunk of rock and roll. Bob Marley and 
The Wailers released Burnin'with Carlton Barrett on drums. Paul 
Douglas played drums for Toots and the Maytals, and perhaps the 
best known "reggae" drummer is Sly Dunbar. Similar to funk 
drumming, reggae drumming was as much built on what wasn't 
played as what was played. 

"Mighty" Max Weinberg, whose dream was to "be like Ringo," 
was the third and final drummer with Bruce Springsteen and the E 
Street Band. Springsteen had released Greetings From Asbury 
Park and The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle around 
1973 using drummers Vinnie Lopez and Ernie Carter. Weinberg 
answered an ad in The Village Voice and was chosen from more 
than fifty hopeful drummers. Born To Run was released in 1975 
followed by Darkness on The Edge of Town and The River. Max 
was pure rock and roll drums. He'd been in rock bands since he 
was thirteen and played in the pit bands of some Broadway shows. 
His playing with Springsteen has evolved into consistent rock solid 
drumming, and Max had done records with Meatloaf, Jim Stein- 
man and Gary "U.S." Bonds, among others. Like the rest of the E 
Street Band and Bruce Springsteen, Max is carrying on the pure 
rock and roll tradition. 

Finally, 1973 brought pure country music into vogue, pioneered 
by "outlaws" like Wille Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Nelson had 
been using his drummer for almost twenty years, Paul English, and 
then added Rex Ludwig for a while, but for the past few years it's 
just been Paul. Waylon Jennings used Richie Albright for years 
until Albright left the band to produce records and his spot was 
filled by Buddy Holly's drummer, Jerry Allison. 

Neil Peart has won the Rock category in the MD Readers Poll 
every year. This past year he also won in Recorded Performance 
for Exit:Stage Left and All-Around Drummer. 

Peart was actually the second drummer in Rush. John Rutsey 
played drums on the first Rush album released in 1974, but he quit 
soon after and Neil joined. Neil writes the lyrics to many of Rush's 
songs and he has the unique position of being respected for his 
drumming and his writing. If he can't inspire a fan to play drums, 
it's a safe bet that he'll inspire them to try to write. 

Lillian Roxon wrote about Rush in her Rock Encyclopedia. She 
said, "The band has successfully bridged the gap between fantasy 
proper and fantasy rock, emulating the works of Ayn Rand and, 
generally, slanting their power-trio antics toward ideas of the fu¬ 
ture." In the Apr./May '80 MD, Peart credited Bill Bruford, Keith 
Moon, Carl Palmer, Phil Collins, Michael Giles, Kevin Ellman, 
Nick Mason and Tommy Aldridge as influences. He's known for 
his ability to glide through odd time signatures and for his multi¬ 
percussion work. 

The Average White Band blew everybody's minds. Here was a 
Scottish band playing funk like black Americans. I remember a 
black comedian telling a talk show host that he was going to start a 
group called The Average Black Band that played European classi¬ 
cal music like Bach and Beethoven! "Cut The Cake" was the 
band's first single in 1974. The horn lines were crisp, almost like 
bebop riffs, and drummer Robbie McIntosh played great. McIn¬ 
tosh died from snorting an overdose of heroin and was replaced by 
Steve Ferrone, who has proved himself to be one of the better 
drummers in this genre. 

Bachman-Turner Overdrive were cranking out some solid rock 
and roll in 74, driven by Robbie Bachman, and Led Zeppelin had 
put the stamp of approval on a new band on Zeppelin's record 
label. The band was called Bad Company, who had a smash single 



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called "Can't Get Enough" and they recorded four albums up 
until 1977. The band had a sabbatical for a while and is about to 
release a new album. Drummer Simon Kirke was a talented heavy- 
rock drummer who had joined the band after being with Free. 

The '60s Jefferson Airplane had broken up, but several ex¬ 
members formed a new band called Jefferson Starship. Dragon 
Fly was the band's first album spotlighting drummer Johnny Bar- 
bata, ex-member of The Turtles. Barbata played great and was 
with them until a few years ago when a serious car accident forced 
him out of commission for quite a while. His spot was filled by 
Aynsley Dunbar. Dunbar remains an exceptional rock drummer. 
'He'd been with John Mayall, The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, 
The Mothers Of Invention and Journey. Rick Mattingly had an 
interview with Aynsley in the May '82 MD. 

A few strong acts came out of 1975 with some noteworthy drum¬ 
mers. A band called Kansas came out of the state of Kansas and 
had a sound that's been called a composite of Cream and Yes. Phil 
Ehart gained tremendous respect as a drummer to reckon with. 

Heart, a Canadian band, broke in the States with a self- 
distributed album that went platinum called Dreamboat Annie. 
Heart toured with and opened for acts like the Jefferson Starship 
and Journey, and finally broke loose as one of the major attrac¬ 
tions of the 70s. Michael Derosier was with the band until very 
recently when he was replaced by Denny Carmassi. 

A group that had called themselves The Jazz Crusaders for al¬ 
most twenty years dropped the name "jazz" and started selling 
records like a major pop act. They released an album called Chain 
Reaction which was a monster and showed the talents of drummer 
Stix Hooper. The Crusaders are still very popular as an act. Each 
band member has released solo albums and they are all much in- 
demand studio musicians. Hooper had proved himself an excellent 

continued on next page 










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straight ahead jazz drummer and now he was leaning more on his 
Texas R&B roots with The Crusaders. 

Peter Frampton had a flash of success with his album Frampton 
Comes Alive! John Siomos, ex-drummer from Mitch Ryder and 
The Voices of East Harlem, accompanied Frampton on three huge 
singles: "Show Me The Way," "Baby I Love Your Way" and 
"Do You Feel." This was a refreshing sound in the singer/ 
songwriter tradition. 

Tom Waits, another singer/songwriter in a Bohemian tradition, 
had his most popular album Nighthawks At The Diner released in 
75. Waits wrote about the B-side of life: The losers, the hookers, 
the crooks, pimps and runaways, and he captured the lower es¬ 
sence of the '50s beatnik era by blending his songs with a jazz 
cabaret flavor. He chose excellent musicians for his albums, usu¬ 
ally a quartet format with Waits on piano, an acoustic bassist, a 
tenor sax, and either Bill Goodwin or Shelly Manne on drums. 

One of the big surprises of the year was when rock and roll gui¬ 
tarist Jeff Beck came out with Blow By Blow, which was one of the 
best jazz/fusion albums ever. The follow up album was Wired and 
after that the least successful of the three albums, With The Jan 
Hammer Group. 

Then at the peak of disco, Van McCoy had a hit with "The 
Hustle." The record was a monster and its drummer was a young 
man from Rochester, New York who would stop everybody in 
their tracks, make them re-examine themselves, and start a trend 
of clones in his wake: Steve Gadd. 

Steve Gadd is the perfect blend of jazz and rock drumming. He 
became the most in-demand studio drummer and it seemed like 
there wasn't any style of music that Steve couldn't burn up. His 
timing was impeccable, his ideas were fresh . . . possibly the only 
criticism that could be leveled against him was that he was over 
recorded. Gadd became part of a band called Stuff along with 


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drummer Chris Parker, and for a span of a few years, these guys 
played on everybody's records. They became the sound that every 
producer wanted. As we approach 1983, Steve Gadd remains one 
of the consistent drum heroes. That almost every studio drummer 
has tried to emulate his style is a testimony to his talent. Gadd 
seems to have built his style around Tony Williams and Elvin Jones 
to a large extent, and he is well schooled rudimentally. 

From 1976 to 1979, rock and roll went through one of its rebel¬ 
lious cycles. New Wave and Punk Rock reached back into the '50s 
and '60s and mixed it with a citylife feeling, a frenetic anxious 
sound. Topper Headon with The Clash, Paul Cook with The Sex 
Pistols, Tommy Ramone of The Ramones, Clem Burke with Blon- 
die and Stephen Goulding and Terry Chimes with Graham Parker 
were some of the new drummers of 1976. Boston was a semi-heavy 
metal band that had a hit single with "More Than A Feeling" and 
Sib Hashian was on drums. 

In 1976, Capricorn records (the same label that had released 
records by The Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band) 
released Free Fall by The Dixie Dregs. The Dregs were a totally 
instrumental band that combined the technical aspects of, say, The 
Mahavishnu Orchestra,with a down-home country music. Drum¬ 
mer Rod Morgenstein hailed from Long Island, New York and he 
was a left-handed drummer. "I play like a right-handed drummer 
backwards," he told Robin Tolleson in the Feb./Mar. '81 MD. 
"When you're five guys in an instrumental band," he continued, 
"you have to be thinking of ways to get as many sounds as possible 
out of the instrument you play. You want to constantly keep vari¬ 
ety of sounds, as well as variety of styles. Always change the 
sound. Always hit a different drum. Think of the drums as one of 
five instruments, as in this band, and what can they do to round 
out and complete what the others are playing. That's a good way to 
think." 



















1977 gave birth to another heavy metal band that has sold six 
million records to date—Foreigner. This band was made up ofex- 
Spooky Tooth and ex-King Crimson people, and Dennis Elliot had 
played drums on a tour with Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson in 1975. 

Ex-Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe Johanson showed up 
again in Sea Level, a band that was similar in content to the ABB, 
but had more of a flair for pop tunes. Jaimoe left and was replaced 
for a while by Joe English, a superfine rock drummer. English left 
the band and joined Paul McCartney and Wings after Denny 
Siewell and Geoff Britton and recorded Venus And Mars, Band On 
The Run and Wings At The Speed of Sound. 

Joe English left McCartney after Wings At The Speed Of 
Sound has released two albums of his own, Christian contem¬ 
porary rock, on the Refuge label. 

Two New Wave bands of lasting merit from 1977 were Talking 
Heads and Elvis Costello and The Attractions. Talking Heads 
were from the U.S.A. and the rhythm section of Tina Weymouth 
on bass and her husband Chris Frantz on drums was a simple and 
solid support for the band. Their albums Talking Heads 77, More 
Songs About Buildings and Food, and Fear of Music sold reasona¬ 
bly well. In '78 they had a modest hit with a version of "Take Me 
To The River," written by A1 Green. Rolling Stone wrote that the 
band's success was due to their chief songwriter/singer, David 
Byrnes' ". . . unwavering vision of a bleak world that tran¬ 
scended normal human emotion." 

Elvis and The Attractions came from Britain and their drum¬ 
mer, Pete Thomas, is one of the most creative of the new wave 
drummers. Elvis' first lp, My Aim Is True was recorded with a 
country/rock band called Clover. It's a great album. The Attrac¬ 
tions played on his next three, This Years Model, Get Happy! and 
Armed Forces. "In (Elvis) songs, life occurs as a nightmare where 
the personal contacts that might provide a haven merely become an 
intimate extension of the web society has spun to imprison us all." 

In 1978 David Robinson and The Cars surfaced and Robinson 
was incorporating electronic percussion in an interesting way. 
Devo also came out of Ohio and their drummer, Alan Myers, had a 
mechanical style that blended perfectly with the group's music. 
Bruce Gary played some solid drums with The Knack. 

I'm sure MD's readers will be familiar with who's who in drum¬ 
ming from late 1979 to today. Simon Phillips and Stewart Cope¬ 
land come to mind as just two of the drummers who are extremely 
popular and are inventing new concepts. 

Perhaps the biggest invention in recent years that has succeeded 
in angering some drummers; putting the fear in others; is used by 
still others as a creative extension, is the drum machines. The Linn 
LM-I and the Oberheim DMX seem to be the most popular as of 
this writing. These machines are actually replacing drummers in 
many instances and in other instances they are used in conjunction 
with a flesh-and-blood drummer. 

Writing this five-part series gave me the first opportunity to look 
analytically at the history of rock drumming. I must confess that as 
I neared the close of this fifth installment—it was as if I was writing 
a sad ending. I don't think the drum machines are to be feared. 
Rick Mattingly pointed out that not too many years ago, bands 
had a snare drummer and a bass drummer. The invention of the 
bass drum pedal knocked about 50% of the drummers out of the 
market. We forget that today. If anybody is to blame for the use of 
machines—we have to blame ourselves. We've created our own 
Frankenstein. 

In one of his columns for this magazine, David Garibaldi wrote 
of a yearning for the ". . . return of the thinking drummer." 
Drummers like Philly Joe Jones used to speak about being able to 
swing a seventeen-piece big band with a pair of wire brushes and a 
telephone book. The majority of young drummers today feel that 
they can't be creative unless they have eight mounted toms, two 
floor toms, a deep snare, multiple cymbals and double bass drums! 
There is no magic in a drumset. We could walk through the show¬ 
rooms at any NAMM show, late at night when no one's there. 



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We'd be surrounded by every single option available in percussion. 
But, there'd be no sound. No music. If, for instance, Vinnie Col- 
aiuta happened to be there and he sat down behind a massive 
drumset— then there'd be magic. By the same token Vinnie could 
make magic on anything. Steve Gadd used a pair of wire brushes 
and a cardboard box on one cut on the new Rickie Lee Jones al¬ 
bum! 

The magic is inside each and every one of us. Imagination, crea¬ 
tivity, attitude, enthusiasm—all these are much more important 
than what we play on. We need to become individuals in our ap¬ 
proach to music. If we're all trying to sound like whoever is the hot 
drummer of the day—then what difference does it make whether 
record producers use drum machines? Every hot new drummer is 
hot precisely because they took a new approach to the drums. The 
clones might achieve fleeting or momentary success—but it can't 
last. 

I feel it's vital for any drummer that's going to create something 
new to be well versed in the old. Terri Lynne Carrington was in my 
office yesterday. Terri is a seventeen-year-old who has been play¬ 
ing with the greats ofjazz since she was twelve! I asked her what 
she did different from all the other seventeen-year-olds to be as far 
advanced in jazz drumming as she is today. She said: "I started at a 
very early age and I was lucky enough to have parents who were 
supportive. And I listened to the music since I was five years old. 
My father started me off with music that I'd understand like James 
Brown, Ben Branch, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, B.B. King. 
As a baby I played with those records and it just kept developing on 
from there. " 

I believe that same approach needs to be taken by anyone who 
seriously wants to pursue rock drumming. Hopefully, this History 
of Rock Drumming will inspire several pioneers to study the roots 
of the music and their instrument, and we'll see the return of the 
thinking drummer, because I hate sad endings. K 


75 







Owen Hale 


by Scott Fish 

From time to time, readers ask us to 
spotlight qualified drummers who aren't 
in the public eye as much as some others. 
Several months ago, I was on the phone 
with Roger Hawkins. In the course of our 
conversation, Roger mentioned Owen 
Hale as a new studio drummer in Muscle 
Shoals who deserved some attention. 
When Roger Hawkins puts his stamp of 
approval on a drummer, it's a good idea to 
pay attention. 

Whatfollows is the result of a phone in¬ 
terview with Owen. He is indeed a relative 
newcomer to the studio world, but many 
readers will recognize the names of the hits 
he's played on. This is a classic story. A 
trumpet player for fifteen years, Owen 
didn't start playing drums until he was 
about twenty years old. Too many drum¬ 
mers would consider that an excuse for 
failure, but on top of that, Owen plays his 
drumset backwards! An interesting inter¬ 
view with a great person, designed to blow 
away all the excuses. 

SF: How did you first get into studio 
drumming? 

OH: I was in Jackson, Mississippi working 
in clubs, doing a little bit of studio work, 
trying to break into this little studio down 
there called North American Recording. 
Mike Daniels owned it and leased it. One 
night Rick Hall, who owns Fame Studios 
in Muscle Shoals, called and talked to 
Mike in his office for about an hour. We 
were wondering what was going on. Mike 
comes back out and says, "Well, do you 
guys want to move to Muscle Shoals?" I 
said, "Sure!" Rick was looking for an¬ 
other rhythm section to cut his demos. It 
was a good start so we came up. Rick 
wanted somebody he could rely on and he 
knew we were young, fresh, and really 
wanting to do it. I walked in here as green 
as hell, and felt very fortunate to learn in 
Muscle Shoals. 

I played trumpet for fifteen years, so I 
can read real well. But, when I got to col¬ 
lege I started messing around with drums 
and got real interested in them. I wanted to 
buy a drumset. I taught myself how to 
play, really got into it—and forgot about 
my trumpet! I just went 100% on the 
drums. This job is the result. I've had no 
lessons at all. I've got the thirteen basic ru¬ 
diments down and I learned the paradid- 

76 


dies and different things from friends. I've 
had four years of college as a music major, 
but I didn't start playing drums until I was 
twenty or twenty-one. I'm thirty now. 

SF: What was the first recording date you 
did at Muscle Shoals? 

OH: The first master date was probably a 
Janie Fricke album. Then I did Tammy 
Wynette and a couple of David Allen Coe 
albums. 

SF: What's the procedure inside a studio 
on a master session? 

OH: The musicians would go in and we'd 
do a drum check first. Then we get the 
charts and run down the songs until it's 
right. I was nervous at first. I had the "red 
light" syndrome, but that eased away little 
by little. It takes a while to get rid of that. 
Now I'm getting to where I'm real com¬ 
fortable. In Muscle Shoals they basically 
want a good solid track. I feel fortunate 
that I have good enough ears to hear parts. 
I think that's because I played trumpet for 
so many years. Playing drums is like a nat¬ 
ural thing for me. I wish I knew more 
about it, but I'm learning. I'm not going to 
stop here. I learn more by listening to other 
people and studying. I'm just really getting 
started. The sky is the limit. 

SF: Did you plan on becoming a studio 
drummer? 

OH: When I first started playing drums I 
had no idea this would happen. I was in 
different rock and roll bands and played 
all around the Southeast in clubs. I'm orig¬ 
inally from a little town called Lumberton, 
Mississippi, way down in the southern part 
of the state. I moved to Jackson in 1973 
and played there for about a year. I was 
thinking, "Am I going to be doing this for 
the rest of my life?" I decided to go into 
the Air Force. It was the wrong decision 
and I got my ass right back out! 

I moved back to Jackson in 1975 and 
started playing clubs again with my cous¬ 
ins and friends. At the same time, I was 
going over the North American Recording 
studio a lot, really bugging Mike Daniels. 
I'd say, "Look man, give me a break. I 
want to learn. I want to get in the studio." 
He'd say, "Well, I'll give you a call some¬ 
time." I just kept on. I was very persistent 
because I knew I wanted to learn studio 
drumming. 

James Stroud and Roger Hawkins were 
big influences on me. James was playing in 



Jackson and I'd always go hear him play. I 
knew he was at Malaco Studios as a studio 
drummer and that's about when I got in¬ 
terested in it too. 

I finally got in with Mike Daniels. He 
gave me a call and I went over and worked 
on a Marissa DeFranco session for Elektra 
records. That was the first thing I did. I 
heard that other people suggested Mike 
give me a call; people who thought I was 
fairly good and thought that he ought to 
give me a try. Those people really helped 
by backing me up and believing in me. 
From then on, Mike started using me a lot. 
I was learning more and just loved it. 

SF: Do you have much control over how 
your drums are going to sound in the stu¬ 
dio? 

OH: I care very much about the drum 
sound. I've gotten some new Pearl drums. 
I've got 10", 12", 13", and 14" mounted 
toms with the extra length on them. 
They're doubleheaded. They've been 
sounding real good. I try to get a good 
drum sound all the time. Engineers are all 
different. You get different drum sounds 
everywhere. Now that I'm putting together 
a good drumset, I want to go for a drum 
sound of my own and get it down and try to 
keep it in relation to every studio. No mat¬ 
ter how long it takes, I want to get that cer¬ 
tain sound. 

Besides the four mounted toms I've got 
a 16" floor tom, a 22 x 16 bass drum, and 
an 8 X 14 snare. All of the drums are 
wood. 

SF: Do you use a variety of drumheads in 
the studio? 

OH: Doubleheaded drums give me an op¬ 
tion. If I'm on a date and they don't want a 
lot of tone, but more "thoomp" without 
the bigness, I'll take the bottom heads off, 
tune them up real quick, pad them a little 
and I'm set. But I prefer using both heads; 
Pinstripes on top and Diplomat clear on 
the bottom. I use an Ambassador on my 
snare. Roger Hawkins gave me an old '62 
Ludwig 8 x 15 snare drum that's deadly. 
It's going to be a killer for ballads and r&b. 
It's got that big fat sound. 

SF: Do you have any practice routines to 
keep your studio skills up? 

OH: I' ve got practice pads that I work 
with, and books that I read to keep up with 
phrases and patterns. I learn real quick. 
When I played trumpet, I always memo- 
continued on next page 

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rized things, and I didn't mean to. I memo¬ 
rized or remembered how the songs went 
and what the parts were. I think I've been 
gifted with being able to remember things. 
When I go do a date, we'll run the song 
down a couple of times and I'll know it. 

SF: Is that a quality most studio drummers 
have or acquire? 

OH: Sometimes. It's good to have that 
quickness and speed and still be able to 
have a good feel. If my drums are recorded 
in the first take or two—that's my best 
takes in most cases. 

SF: Are most of your sessions done live or 
withoverdubbing? 

OH: Billy Sherril was producing Tammy 
Wynette's albums, and he always went for 
takes using all the instruments and Tam¬ 
my's singing. Other times the artists will 
come in and then come back again after the 
rhythm tracks have been recorded to do 
their vocal over. It doesn't matter to me as 
long as the singer is there while we're cut¬ 
ting it. I listen to the singer real close when 
I'm cutting in order to get the feel of the 
song, and I try to surround the vocals and 
make it fit. Usually we'll work with a "pi¬ 
lot" vocal. They don't keep the "pilot" 
vocal track. It's just used as a point of ref¬ 
erence. 

Sometimes when we do Walt Aldridge's 
songs over at Fame Studios, me and him 
will go in by ourselves. Walt's a songwriter 
for Rick Hall at Fame Studios. I'll get on 
the kit and he'll be in the control room at 
the machine, plus have his guitar running 
direct. He'll hand me a chart and we'll do 
his song. Walt will come back and stack all 
the parts: vocal, bass, keyboards, and 
whatever's needed. I love it! Especially 
with Walt because he writes different. He's 
a very versatile writer. He can go from ba¬ 
sic country to new wave. I love working 
with him in that respect because I know his 
ideas and I like to play them. They're fun. 
He writes all the parts out—note values 
and everything. When it's sitting in front 
of you you'll do it in one or two takes if 
you're a good reader and a quick learner. 
That's when it's real fresh and feels the 
best. Walt has really been an inspiration. 
SF: Are there specific drum books or exer¬ 
cises you use to keep sharp? 

OH: I don't really use those drum books 
much. I read trumpet melodies and try to 
keep up with melodic figures. Down here 
in the Muscle Shoals, Nashville, Atlanta 
area, the reading is not as much of a re¬ 
quirement as in Los Angeles or New York. 
That's not to say I don't like to read the 
books at all. I'm trying to learn new things 
all the time. But it's not as much of a re¬ 
quirement down here. 

SF: What would happen if you were called 
to play a session in New York or Los 
Angeles? 

OH: I'd love it. I love challenges. That's 
the only way to keep learning! Sightread¬ 
ing is one of my strong points. I always did 


really good in sightreading when I tried out 
for All State Band in high school. They'd 
whip a thirty-two bar piece in front of you 
and say, "Alright. You've got a minute to 
look at it." You had to whip out the mel¬ 
ody, phrasing, and everything—forte's, 
pianissimo's—all the stuff. You had to be 
real aware of it. 

SF: How did you learn to phrase on a 
drumset? 

OH: Through listening. I could read and I 
knew the note values. I knew what to play 
because I played trumpet for so long. I 
don't do a lot of written dates. I would love 
to do more with big orchestras, where eve¬ 
rybody has their part written out, and it's 
count it off and go! I really haven't done 
any of those but I want to. 

SF: When you're reading a chart, how do 
you determine if you're going to execute a 
phrase on the snare, bass drum, toms, or 
cymbals? 

OH: It varies. If you wanted a real short 
note you'd probably play it on a snare. If 
the note was tied over and you wanted it to 
last, you'd probably hit it on the cymbal. 
It's according to how the producer wants 
it. There's not really any set rules. I'd first 
play it the way I felt it. 

SF: For drummers who are aspiring to be 
studio drummers, how would you advise 
them on developing a balance between be¬ 
ing good sightreaders and being good lis¬ 
teners? 

OH: I wish I would've taken drums in high 
school. It's not really hurting me, but I 
could've learned a lot back then. But, 
maybe I wouldn't play like I do now, 
which is comfortable for me. Get your 
reading chops down for sure. A lot of the 
charts down here are numbered chord 
charts. They'll have I, IV, V, for instance, 
for the tonic, subdominant, and dominant 
chords on the chart. If you can count to 
four you can do that! If they want a little 
pattern to be played they'll write out the 
notes or the rhythm pattern. Maybe you 
just add the right feel. 

SF: When you're home do you listen to 
many different styles of music? 

OH: Oh yeah! I try to keep up with all the 
new stuff. I'm really into The Police. 
They're great. A1 Jarreau's new album just 
knocks me out. Steve Gadd and Jeff Por- 
caro are two of my favorites —definitely 
Jeff. He was probably my biggest influ¬ 
ence because I loved the way he played 
drums; his feel, his parts. I love how he 
plays the songs. It seems to me that Jeff 
sings with the song. He doesn't play too 
much or too little. He knocked me out on 
Larry Carlton's Room 335 album, Les Du- 
dek's records, all of Boz Scaggs' stuff, 
Toto and of course, Steely Dan! Whatever 
artist Jeffs with he puts it down for them 
the way they want it. 

SF: Has Roger Hawkins helped you out a 
lot? 

OH: Roger's been great. All the guys at 
continued on next page 

79 


Muscle Shoals Sound are. If he needed an¬ 
other drummer over there or anything— 
he'd call me. He lets me use his equipment 
sometimes, or I'll go over and we'll talk 
drum talk. Roger's a legend. He's one of 
the few drummers that has a style that I 
really love. I have a lot of respect for him. 
He's real sensitive when he plays, and he 
plays incredible grooves. 

SF: I got a letter from an MD reader who 
wanted to know if he could make enough 
money as a studio drummer to consider it a 
"steady job." 

OH: I worried about it for a while, but it's 
getting better all the time. From being in 
there playing drums I'm also learning pro¬ 
duction, publishing . . . a lot of it. I don't 
want to just rely on being a studio drum¬ 
mer all my life. I want to learn all aspects 
of the whole business. Even though I'm 
comfortable making a pretty good living 
playing drums, I'm still learning. Maybe 
later on down the road I'll still play drums 
but just branch out. It takes a lot of deter¬ 
mination, drive and luck. 

SF: I think the reader may have been refer¬ 
ring to "job security." 

OH: Security? That used to scare the hell 
out of me. But, I had the determination 
and thought I was good enough, and had 
good enough ears to make it. It was just 
from sheer determination that I'm here 
right now. But, for the guy that was ask¬ 
ing: Being a studio drummer is scary and 
very challenging. There's a lot of competi¬ 
tion out there and you have to keep on 
your toes. Maybe I won't get a paycheck 
for a month, but the next day I'll get four 
or five. That's the way it is; it's none of this 
weekly pay thing, until you get up there 
with the Gadd's and Porcaro's who are so 
busy they can't breathe! Once you get that 
momentum going, the dates start coming 
in and your security will get better. But, 
you have to work harder. It's really been 
great for me. I can't believe how much I'm 
working. I feel a lot better about the whole 
situation. I was twenty-seven when I 
moved to Muscle Shoals. I said, "Alright 
Owen. I'm going to give it until you're 
thirty. If you don't see that it's happening, 
or you don't think it will happen for you— 
that's it!" But, I'm not going to do that. 
It's been real good and it's getting better. 
SF: Is it important to maintain a balance 
between work and play so that you don't 
kill yourself? 

OH: Studio drumming is hard work. I've 
seen Larrie Londin up in Nashville just like 
he was worn out! I just want to work all the 
time right now. That's all I think about. I 
don't think of it as "Boy, I'm working so 
much I need a break!" I hope that day 
comes. But, I don't think I'll even take a 
break then, because I love to play. But, 
you do have to keep a balance and it's easy 
to do in Muscle Shoals because there's no 
pressure. It's very comfortable. I'm really 
enjoying living here. 


SF: When you're not drumming in the stu¬ 
dio do you have any other activities of in¬ 
terest? 

OH: I like to play paradiddles on tables 
and do weird tap dances with my feet and 
hands. I read trumpet books to refresh my 
mind with rhythms, and I keep up with the 
trumpet still. I'd also like to get a good 
band together. I miss live playing. 

SF: Levon Helm is one of the greatest rock 
and roll drummers. What were the circum¬ 
stances that led to you playing drums on 
his latest album? 

OH: Levon was in New York, I think. 
They called me and said, "We've got to do 
these three tracks to finish up Levon's al¬ 
bum." I said "Great!" Levon came back 
to do the vocals a month later. I went over 
and he and I got together and had a great 
time. I had an offer to go on the road with 
him. It was a hard decision not to, but my 
studio work was picking up. 

SF: He decided to leave your drum tracks 
on the album? 

OH: Yeah. What really flipped me out was 
to be able to play with Roger Hawkins. 
I've always looked up to him for so many 
years. I respect him to the utmost, and it 
was a thrill to play drums together. 

SF: Which album that you've played on 
are you most proud of? 

OH: Levon's album. I'm on the track 
"Lucretia." Most of the playing I've done 
is basically for the commercial market. 
Have you heard Bertie Higgin's single 
"Key Largo" or his album? I like the play¬ 
ing I did on that. 

SF: Do you use click tracks? 

OH: Not really. I have before. It's not very 
much fun but sometimes you have to do it. 
It works good on certain things. Drum 
loops are happening a lot now. Olivia 
Newton-John's single "Physical" is a 
drum loop. The drummer will record four 
real steady bars with a good sound, and 
they loop it on the tape. Then the drummer 
overdubs his crashes, tom-tom fills and 
whatever they want. I'm kind of anxious to 
do that because "Physical" is a steady 
pulse with a human feel that comes off 
good. 

SF: Have you experimented with the Linn 
LM-l machine? 

OH: Wishbone Recording Studio just got 
one. We were listening to Jermaine Jack¬ 
son's new album which is all Linn drums. 
It really surprised me. I don't like the 
sound of it. It seemed to me that the bass 
drum was kind of distorted. It wasn't that 
thump that I like in a bass drum. It 
sounded like a machine even though it does 
sound like drums. The machine's amaz¬ 
ing! It does all the percussion, handclaps, 
ungodly things . . . you can program it to 
do just about anything. But, I don't think 
the drummer will ever be replaced—even 
though these machines are being used—be¬ 
cause of the spontaneity and magic things 
that can only happen on the drumset. 


SF: Would you ever consider leaving the 
studios to go on the road with a band? 

OH: If I ever get to the point where I'm 
doing a lot of sessions and a good band or a 
certain artist asked me to go on the road 
with them—if the situation was right—I'd 
probably do it. I love playing live. It's like 
night and day between studio playing and 
live playing. It's two different worlds. 

SF: You play the drums in an unorthodox 
manner. Can you tell me about that? 

OH: I play on a right-handed kit, but I play 
my snare with my right hand, and I ride the 
cymbal or hi-hat with my left hand. That's 
the way I learned. I'm getting to where I'm 
ambidextrous on the drums. I used to bat 
right and left when I played baseball. 
When I bought my drums I just started 
playing and I wasn't aware of how the 
drums were supposed to be played exactly. 
I just knew I wanted to play them. I started 
seeing other drummers and I'd think, 
"Wait a minute! What is his right hand do¬ 
ing over there?” But I couldn't change. It 
just felt natural to me. It used to hinder me 
when I first started in the studios for little 
things, but my style is working better now. 
On certain beats that need to have a certain 
touch on the hi-hat, I can play it better with 
my right hand crossed over. I have more 
freedom with my right hand this way to 
play tom-tom things and still keep a cym¬ 
bal going. I love Billy Cobham's playing. I 
practice his licks all the time because my 
ambidexterity gets better. When a drum¬ 
mer is able to use four limbs indepen¬ 
dently—he's going to kill! Steve Smith is a 
good example. He's a real powerful drum¬ 
mer. There are so many good drummers 
with different tastes. If everybody was the 
same it'd be boring. I like to hear a fine 
technical drummer, and I like to hear a 
Russ Kunkel who just lays it back and kills 
with the feel. 

SF: Unfortunately, many people feel that 
country drummers are basically "back- 
beat" drummers who can't really play. 
OH: That's not altogether true. I work a 
lot in Nashville, too. A lot of drummers 
that get into that bag—this "boom-chik, 
boom-chik" syndrome—they tend to get 
lazy. They tend to get into the thinking of, 
"Well, this is what I do for a living and 
that's it" I'm not like that. I wan! to 
learn. I love to play all kinds of music and 
there's no way I would play just "boom- 
chik, boom-chik" all the time. I just 
couldn't do it. I think it would get very 
stale. I don't ever want to get into think¬ 
ing, "Well, I'm going to play this beat and 
get by." I like to try to create things when I 
can. There are always those moments of 
spontaneity which are really great. If I ever 
quit learning ... I'd rather sell shoes. Mu¬ 
sic is constantly changing and you have to 
change with it. If I ever get to the point 
where I say, "Well, I'm good enough. I'm 
going to play the basic groove and get 
by"—I'll quit. » 


60 


NOVEMBER 



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Jopa founder, Papo Daddiego, handcraft¬ 
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of the old-world craftsmen. 


by Cheech lero 

Papo Jose Rosario Pedro Quentico 
Daddiego is a musician who guarantees the 
instruments he makes for a lifetime. "I 
defy anyone to do it the way I do it," 
claims Papo. "They cannot. They don’t 
know how and they don't have the tools." 

In essence, Papo practices an art in 
which conception and execution are gov¬ 
erned by imagination and pride; a likeness 
to an artisan from some bygone era. And it 
is because of this that the small company 
called Jopa has made such inroads in the 
percussion market. Jopa products can be 
found all over the United States, and are 
also exported to Brazil, South Africa, New 
Guinea, France, Japan, Italy, Sweden, 
Denmark and Germany. 

Papo's love for playing has been satis¬ 
fied in performances with Sammy Davis, 
Jr., The Latin Jazz Quartet, Jose Feli¬ 
ciano, Richie Havens, Melba Moore and 
others. "I used to make my own bells, and 
when I'd go on the gig, some of the musi¬ 
cians would ask me to make them bells. 
When the U.S. had trouble with Cuba 
years ago, it was difficult to get the real 
thing. So I made them the same way they 


Jopa: 

Old World Craftsmanship 


were made in Cuba, by hammering them 
out on an anvil. Even the rock musicians 
were asking me to make bells for them. I 
had so many requests that I went into busi¬ 
ness." 

In 1973, Papo seriously decided to make 
this line of work his profession. At the 
time, he and his family were living in a 
four-and-a-half-room apartment with half 
of the kitchen utilized as a workshop. Af¬ 
ter many hard hours of making instru¬ 
ments with just the right sound, Papo 
walked into a major music store in New 
York City with a milk crate full of bells and 
asked the store manager if he would like to 
buy them. The manager decided they 
sounded like good bells and told Papo to 
leave them on the counter. When Papo re¬ 
turned the following week, the store owner 
said, "They're all gone! You'd better 
bring another six of each." 

By 1976, Jopa's growth forced Papo to 
move the business to its present location. 
The metal bending and rolling machines 
which Papo needed but could not find, he 
built himself. On some of his rebuilt ma¬ 
chines, the dates read 1890, however, they 
appear to be in mint condition. Though 
not an ultra-modern facility with the latest 
in assembly-line production, the success of 
Jopa can be traced to the care its founder 
takes in his products. 

"Everything that goes out of my shop is 
approved by me personally. That's why 
it's very common to see stick marks on my 
bells when you take them out of the box. 
Before any instrument is packaged, work¬ 
ers line them up on the packing table so 
that I can test each one. I prefer to test 
them a few weeks after they're made be¬ 
cause some bells change in sound after 
they've completely cooled. There is tre¬ 
mendous heat involved in the welding 
process. 

"Some of the bells lack a certain person¬ 
ality, which means they cannot have the 
Jopa label. The sound of each bell deter¬ 
mines the area of music to which it's best 
suited. If a bell doesn't have a particular 
personality, I throw it into a pit outside un¬ 
til the steel rusts. Then I remove the skin by 
scraping off a thickness which only a mi¬ 
crometer could measure. This is called 
'picketing' the steel. I also use a special 
powder which hardens the steel even more 
once it is heat treated. This usually brings 
the personality back to the instrument. 


"Whenever I select steel, I hit the metal 
sheet with a small hammer," explained 
Papo. "I've noticed that you get a higher, 
more resilient sound out of a particular 
colored steel. For the most part, I've found 
the bluer the steel, the purer. It means 
there's less garbage in it, like melted down 
road signs or car fenders." 

Papo's dampening process is also as in¬ 
teresting as everything else in the small, un¬ 
adorned Jopa workshop. 

"After the bell has been played for a 
while, it experiences a certain amount of 
metal fatigue," explains Papo. "This is re¬ 
ferred to as 'breaking in the bell.' We use 
tar and sawdust inside the bell to dampen 
it. They've been doing that in Cuba for the 
last hundred years. By the time the tar and 
sawdust dissipates, the bell is broken in." 

Though the Jopa company has become 
well-known and respected in professional 
percussion circles, it still remains a rela¬ 
tively small concern among today's com¬ 
mercial enterprises. 

"There have been many people who 
have wanted to back my business," says 
Jopa's proud owner. "They've said, 
'Papo, we've got to get you to produce 
these instruments faster. You've got to 
push this stuff out a little more.' I said, 
'No senor. I'd rather do it my way.' When 

(1 


I die, so will the business." 


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Triplets With 
Paradiddles and Doubles 



by Brent Brace 


Practice Exercises 1 -4 playing the triplet figure first. Use a metro¬ 
nome for all exercises. When the figure feels comfortable, add the 
bass drum and then the hi-hat. Don't play the exercises too fast in 
the beginning. Make them groove. These figures should help you 
develop a sense of independence while playing polyrhythmic lines 
within the time. 

Exercises 3 and 4 provide a polyrhythmic concept for playing 4/ 


4 or 6/4 within 12/8—which can be found in Latin music. Exercise 
3 is played with the hi-hat on 2 and 4. Exercise 4 uses the hi-hat in 
6/4 or on every quarter note of the 12/8 time signature. 

Exercise 5 is essential for developing strength in playing accents 
in a rudimental way. Many drummers have problems accenting 
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DiSallc continued from page 23 
SF: So you have no contract with Bruce? 
BD: No, it's never been that and it's been 
an ideal situation for me; a really good 
working situation. We've been a good 
touring band and we've always come back 
to Toronto and we've been a part of the 
albums as well. That's the icing on the 
cake. I've gained a lot of experience from 
doing that. I've played on other albums 
but I've never had the opportunity to have 
that really relaxed feeling in the studio. We 
usually take one week. We do maybe four 
days of sessions and then we go in and re¬ 
cord the bed tracks. Bruce usually knows 
pretty well everything he wants on it, but 
he'll take maybe a month putting all the 
overdubs on and mixing it. But, usually a 


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month after the first day we go into the stu¬ 
dio, the album is complete. 

Bruce is not only a fine singer/song¬ 
writer—he's an excellent guitar player. So, 
it's never been, "Here's my song. You 
guys take it and I'll play chords behind it." 
Bruce knows what's going on with every¬ 
body's instrument all the time. He doesn't 
crowd people. He lets you feel free. 

SF: So, you've got a free reign as to what 
you're going to play in the tunes. 

BD: Yeah. Then if there's something that 
he doesn't like, he doesn't hesitate to speak 
up. Everybody has the freedom to basi¬ 
cally do what they want. I'm really into the 
lyric, so I try to judge—partially anyway— 
what I'm going to play on drums just by 
the mood a lyric would set for the tune. 

SF: I noticed on the last album that a lot 
of the drum parts were played in unison 
with the vocal line. 

BD: I try to do that without getting in the 
way. That's hard to do sometimes because 
of the way Bruce writes. There have been 
times in the past where I'll often get in the 
way of where the lyrics are falling. I'm just 
starting to feel comfortable with that now. 
SF: Did you have to change your style 
when you started playing with Bruce? 

BD: I don't think I changed the style so 
much as I developed one. 

SF: It seems that many people would look 
at being the drummer in Bruce Cockburn's 
band as a final goal. You don't seem to 
have that attitude because you're not even 
planning on being on the next tour or re¬ 
cord. How do you manage your life 
around that insecurity? 

BD: Well, I don't plan too much. In the 
music business you can't assume anything. 
By using that attitude I've saved myself a 
lot of grief or heartache over things that 
would go wrong. 

If you don't count on things you don't 

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get let down. One of the things I always go 
back to—when I started playing with 
Bruce I was thinking that what was most 
important of all wasn't making money at 
the time. It was trying to play with the best 
people that I could. I mean that two ways: 
people with good attitudes, and good mu¬ 
sicians. That's what I look for. I've been 
fortunate to play in Bruce's band and with 
the musicians that've been in that group. I 
don't think the thing with Bruce will, or 
can, last forever. It's got to end sometime 
and I'm prepared for that. I've got other 
things that I do. That's why the situation 
with Bruce has worked out. Some artists 
say, "You can't do anything else because 
you're working with me." Bruce would 
call when he needed me and in the mean¬ 
time, whatever I'm doing in Toronto, I do! 
So, I have my jingle thing happening and 
that's working out for me. I work with a 
group called Edward, Harding & McLean. 
They play the clubs around Toronto, and 
just released a new album that's the second 
one I play on with them. I record with 
other people as well and that seems to get 
me by. Then when work with Bruce hap¬ 
pens, that's extra for me. That's been the 
nicest thing that's happened in my career 
so far. 

SF: So, you stay diversified to protect 
yourself. 

BD: Yeah. I try to do that. Two friends, 
Memo Acevedo and Gary Morgan and I 
put together a sixteen-piece Latin band 
here called Band Brava. For about two 
years I got totally immersed in Latin music 
from guaguanco to merengue—all the 
rhythms that you play on jobbing gigs but 
never get a chance to really learn what 
they're about. The percussionists were 
from Kali, Bogota, and Uruguay. I learned 
a lot from them. My attitude all along has 
been: If you're going to play your instru¬ 
ment you should always try to learn as 
much as you can about it. If you've got 
that together and consider that the most 
important thing, then usually other things 
start to work. 

There are a lot of things involved with 
playing drums; far more than just being 
technically proficient. Sometimes it's hard 
to sit back and just play 2 and 4 and just 
stay out of things. Stay out of everybody's 
way and play in the pocket so that as soon 
as the time is counted in, the song just sits 
there. 

SF: Did you have to add on to your origi¬ 
nal drumset because of sounds you needed 
for Bruce's music? 

BD: When I first started working with 
Bruce, although I didn't add to the 

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86 


NOVEMBER 















drumkit, I bought African drums and 
things like that to use on the recordings. 
Recently, I bought a new set of Pearls. I've 
gotten used to those: A 22" bass, and 10", 
12", 13", 14" mounted toms and a 16" on 
the floor. But, I can't play all those toms 
up there because my cymbals are too far 
away. So, I moved them all over one space 
and got rid of the floor toms. So, I use the 
22" bass with the 10" and the 12" over the 
bass drum, and then the 13" and the 14" 
mounted on a stand on the floor. 

When I got into jingles, a lot of times 
they would ask for more of a variety of 
sounds. So, a few years ago I added con¬ 
cert toms to the set. They're 6", 8", 10", 
12", 13", and 14". I mount the 6" and 8" 
just above the 10" and 12" and then the 13" 
and 14" are on the floor. Some people have 
four or five toms in front of them but I 
can't get to my cymbals when I do that. 

SF: What's your cymbal set-up? 

BD: I use different ones depending on the 
situation. With Bruce, onstage to my left I 
set up a Paiste China-type cymbal, but it's 
set flat through the top post of the cymbal 
stand. All the rest are Zildjians. On the 
stand itself is a 16" crash. Then I have an 
18" on my left which is a medium ride. I 
have a 20" ride cymbal. My hi-hats are 15". 
On my right I have a heavy sizzle cymbal 
that's set up the same as the China cymbal. 
On top of that cymbal stand I have another 
16" crash. Between the toms I can set up a 
little splash cymbal. But, that's not regular 
for me. I'm most comfortable with the hi- 
hat set up, a crash on the left, a ride, the 
sizzle and a crash on the right. I always like 
the flat sizzle cymbal because whether it's 
jingles, jobbing gigs or whatever—to get 
any kind of sustain sound with brushes, I 
always like to have the sizzle there. 

SF: Have you worked a lot on brush tech¬ 
nique? 

BD: Not formally. My Dad always used to 
tell me, "If you want to be a drummer 
you've got to be as good with the brushes 
as you are with the sticks." I always played 
the brushes and I've always liked them. 
Marty Morrell and Pete Magadini showed 
me some very nice brush techniques. 

I sometimes use brushes even on fairly 
loud tunes when the drums are miked. I 
like the sound they get. If they're properly 
miked onstage or in the studio, they can 
give a really nice effect. 

SF: Do you prefer different drumheads 
for different situations? 

BD: I' ve always used Remo Ambassador 
heads more than anything. I used them on 
Bruce's newest album and I always play 

continued on next page 


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NOVEMBER 1982 


87 






















double-headed drums. For the last tour I 
bought some Pinstripe heads for playing 
harder on stage and they last longer. The 
sound is a little more dead than the Ambas¬ 
sadors, so I put Diplomat heads on the bot¬ 
tom. 

In the studio I use that combination of 
heads and my drums are all different sizes. 
I've a really old Gretsch kit with just 12" 
13", and 16" toms and a 22" bass. I use 
them in the clubs a lot and I put the Remo 
heads on them. Then I've got a small little 
Gretsch kit with an 18" bass; a maple kit 
that I use with the concert toms. I use the 
Pearl kit onstage with Bruce. I used that 
little Gretsch kit on every one of Bruce's 
albums except the last one, where I used 
the Pearl drums. I tune all my drums really 
loose. Small drums cut well when you tune 
them down and use very little dampen¬ 
ing—just on the top head, a little bit of 
tape or kleenex. Whether that works or not 
I don't know, but it pleases me! The bigger 
the drum, the more you get that really 
heavy bottom end. Onstage you get so 
much overtone that they can't EQ the 
drums properly. 

SF: Do you still practice? 


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BD: I practice a little bit every few days. I 
can't really bang with the new baby in the 
house. I find some of the columns in MD— 
like David Garibaldi's material—very use¬ 
ful, or sometimes I'll buy four or five al¬ 
bums and just do some listening. But, I 
don't really have any consistent direction 
for practicing. On this last tour, after the 
soundchecks, I'd hang around and prac¬ 
tice rudiments really slow on my Gladstone 
pad. I found it helped me and really got me 
in touch with my hands. I just did a whole 
turnaround and really started concentrat¬ 
ing on that more than anything. I tried to 
spend some more time looking at music 
and doing some playing. 

But, as far as rehearsals at home—this is 
the first time I've been home this long. I'm 
getting used to our new son and house and 
I'm relaxing. It's really hard because my 
newest son, Steven, was born when the 
band was in Raleigh, North Carolina on 
tour. I still had almost two weeks of the 
tour to go before I could go home. Talk 
about feeling useless, totally useless. 
There's nothing you can do. Fortunately 
the baby came really quick and my wife 
didn't have any problem getting to and 



from the hospital. Family was here to help 
her out. 

When I was studying with Jim Blackley, 
I remember telling him, "I'm really con¬ 
fused. I'm working really hard. I don't 
think I'm a great player, but I think I'm 
good enough to work and do more than I 
am now. I'm barely getting by and I just 
wish that things would happen." My wife 
and I were talking about starting a family 
and wanting to buy a house—just the 
things in your private life that you want to 
keep together. Jim said, "Just keep work¬ 
ing and don't worry about it. Take the 
weight off yourself. Just play. Put half 
your efforts into the music and with the 
other half, keep your private life together 
and keep yourself together." I'd walk 
away from my lesson feeling like there 
wasn't any weight there and that sooner or 
later things would work out. It just seemed 
that shortly after I adopted that attitude of 
relaxing and letting things go the way they 
would, things started to work out. That's 
when I started working with Bruce. I 
started to get more work around town. The 
jingle thing started happening. My wife 
and I got our family started. We bought a 
house last year and we've got another little 
addition in the family. Things—privately 
and musically—seems to be working to¬ 
wards where I would like them to be. 

SF: It sounds like your wife has been sup¬ 
portive of you all along. 

BD: Yeah. That's an important part of 
everything as well. When my wife was 
teaching, she was supporting me and there 
would always be money there to go to my 
lesson as long as I wanted to study. We 
would work that out as part of the budget. 
She worked for twelve years. We've been 
married for ten. With the birth of our sec¬ 
ond son she's just now taken some time 
off. Now it's my turn to try to keep things 
going. But if it wasn't for her support and 
attitude—which has been very much a part 
of everything for my career—I can't say I 
wouldn't be here today but there's a good 
chance I might not. 

When I read Jim Keltner's interview, it 
was really refreshing to hear somebody 
talk as a human being as opposed to being 
a "drummer." You're that before you're 
anything else. You may be a really hot 
player but you're a person first. It seemed 
to me that Jim has tried to be as realistic 
with himself as possible. Like when he'd 
see Buddy Rich or Elvin Jones play and 
think, "I'll never play like that." Not that 
he was saying it as a personal putdown— 
but just saying, "Maybe I'm not that ag- 

NOVEMBER 



Be a mean cat 


J A most logically written drum set book which 
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gressive to pursue that style of playing.” 
Because you play what you are. That's 
really important. That's what makes every 
musician unique. Basically, no two people 
should play the same because no two peo¬ 
ple are the same. Unless you make a study 
of picking up somebody's licks to the nth 
degree. 

SF: Which is the same as doing nothing. 
BD: I don't claim for a moment to be in¬ 
nocent of that because I must admit I'm a 
thief myself! If I like someone's playing I 
try to sit down and understand what 
they're doing and how to execute it. I men¬ 
tioned earlier that I like Steve Gadd. I like 
Jeff Porcaro's playing a lot, also Jack De- 
Johnette and Bernard Purdie. If I could 
play time the way Bernard Purdie plays 
time...! And I love Jim Keltner's playing, 
especially on Ry Cooder's albums. I don't 
know if this is a good analogy but it's the 
only thing I could think of. When you lis¬ 
ten to Jim Keltner play on Ry Cooder's al¬ 
bums it's almost as if you pulled somebody 
off the street who had no idea of how to 
play the drums, but had excellent time and 
musical sense, and you just said to him, 
"Here are some sticks," and just let him 
play. Jim doesn't sit down and play a really 
rigid groove. The groove is there, it's defin¬ 
itely there, but it's not like he pinpoints a 
certain thing. He plays all around it while 
always staying within the context of the 
song. On one sixteenth note there's the bell 
of a cymbal, and there's a little ruff on the 
snare, and then a sloppy little tom-tom fill 
that just fits perfectly, and then space. It's 
just his attitude towards playing. But try to 
play like that! That's what I mean about 
the freedom thing. It's like you want to get 
to the point where you don't feel like 
you're being pressured into a certain type 
of playing; that you can sit back and play 
anything, as long as it's within the context 
of the song, hopefully. But, not that you'll 
feel pressured that somebody will listen 
and say, "Oh wow, man. That guy's got 
terrible chops. Look how sloppy he is.” To 
be able to overlook what your peers or any¬ 
body will say about what you do. Just to be 
able to say, "Hey! This is the way I play! 
This is the way I feel this tune and this is the 
kind ofgoove I want to put to it.” f^l 



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89 










































MM 


'Touch and Go" 


by James Morton 

Rock Charts continues with The Cars, the popular new wave 
quintet from Boston. "Touch And Go," from the Panorama 
album is an exercise in meter change. The basic feel of the verse 
(letters A,C,E) is an interesting two-measure 5/4 pattern, which 



shifts to a driving 4/4rock beat during the chorus (letters B,D,F). 
Those new to time changes should be reminded that while the 
meter (or count) changes, the tempo does not. The pulse remains 
the same. The drummer is David Robinson. 



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NOVEMBER 1982 


91 



































































































































































































































































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Do you have a favorite song you would like to see transcribed in Rock Charts? If so, you may write me direct: James Morton, 939 E. 
Washington Ave., El Cajon, CA 92020. 


92 


NOVEMBER 


































































































































































































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kinar 


Introduction 

toTabla 


by Brian Knave 



Bay a Tab I a 


tuners 

ring 


Oddly enough, it was "Black Mountain 
Side," an acoustic guitar piece from Led 
Zepellin's first album, which turned me on 
to the exquisite sound of the tabla. "Tabla 
drum?" I asked myself. "What in the 
world is a tabla drum?" I ignorantly imag¬ 
ined some sort of table which the player 
beat on—until I checked a Beatles's an¬ 
thology book which depicted brightly clad 
George Harrison sitting placidly in the 
midst of sitar master Ravi Shankar and an 
unidentified tabla player. ("Love You 
To," from the Beatles's 1966 Revolver al¬ 
bum, was Harrison's first recorded at¬ 
tempt at Indian music. Before Revolver, 
most Westerners knew nothing at all of 
East Indian music or culture.) Instead of 
tables, the drums looked like small kettles. 
But the picture did little to quench my curi¬ 
osity about the queer-sounding foreign in¬ 
strument. This urge eventually moved me 
to San Francisco where I studied with tabla 
master Zakir Hussain. Since then I've read 
several inquiries about tabla drumming in 
MD and other music publications. There 
are obviously many players out there who 
nurture a keen interest in the ancient East¬ 
ern rhythms. This article will serve to in¬ 
troduce the physical aspects of the drums, 
along with some basic techniques, infor¬ 
mation, and East/West comparisons. 

In India, because the technology of 
communications has progressed less rap¬ 
idly than in the West, styles and instru¬ 
ments change considerably from North 
(Hindusthani style) to South (Karnatic 
style). A drummer from Bombay will de¬ 
velop patterns and combinations of licks 
which a Calcutta drummer may be unfa¬ 
miliar with—and probably on a modified 
instrument. There is a certain beauty to 
this arrangement, and it is in one sense un¬ 
fortunate that Western technologies have 
spoiled the likelihood of a similar situation 
in America. For instance, a drumset 
bought in New York is practically the same 
as a set bought in Florida or California. 
Not so in India; there, because instruments 
are handmade and traditions localized, the 


assortment is endless. Other popular In¬ 
dian drums include the dholak, khol, pa- 
kawaj, and mridangam (a double-ended 
drum). It has been suggested that the tabla, 
which did not actually evolve until the 
1400s, were first formulated when an ex¬ 
perimenting drummer cut his mridangam 
in half. But this is a little more than specu¬ 
lation. However they were created, the 
tabla are fascinating instruments around 
which an infinitely rich and complex 
rhythm system has been molded. 

The drums themselves occur in a pair: 
the baya (the wider, deep sounding drum) 
and the tabla (also called dayan or daina). 
Together they are referred to as simply the 
tabla. A player sits cross-legged on the 
floor (with clean, bare feet), the baya to his 
left, the higher-pitched tabla drum to his 
right. Since Indian customs maintain that 
the head is the highest part of the body, the 
feet the lowest, a respectful student will 
not point the feet towards the teacher, nor 
step over the instruments or touch them 
with the feet. 

The drums rest on two separate and col¬ 
orful rings which keep them from tipping 
over. They are tuned with a small, metal 
hammer. With this tool the player knocks 
the cylindrical wooden inserts up or down 
beneath the leather straps. Placement of 
these pegs determines the overall tension¬ 
ing of the head. To fine tune, the player 
taps on the braided leather outer-rim of the 



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head, being careful not to hit and damage 
the straps. The drum is in tune when the 
tensioning is even at all points around the 
head (this is not as crucial for the baya), 
and the subsequent tone matches the "sa" 
or keytone of the song or raga. Because In¬ 
dian music is free from chord changes, the 
tabla drum must be in tune with only this 
one note. 

Here is an interesting point: a serious In¬ 
dian musician refuses to play an instru¬ 
ment out of tune. If I'm playing a top- 
forty gig at Harry's Bar and the guitarist 
goes out of tune during a disco number, 
because the dance floor is full (and because 
we Westerners are conditioned to finish 
things), that guitarist will play right on 
through the song, out of tune or not. The 
crowd—and the band—would be shocked 
if the guitarist suddenly stopped playing 
just to tune the guitar. But during an In¬ 
dian concert, this is exactly what one can 
expect. If the sitar goes out of tune, the 
tabla player will go to a "vamp" while the 
sitarist gets right with the instrument. This 
is masterfully done, of course, and many 
listeners will never know the difference. If 
the tabla goes out of tune—which is com¬ 
mon—a really good player will continue 
the beat while using the hammer to correct 
the tonal imbalance. The player will clev¬ 
erly shape the sharp blows of the hammer 
into the music! Being in tune at all times, 
musically and spiritually, is vital to the phi- 





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94 


NOVEMBER 





















































losophy of Indian music. In the words of 
Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, Indian sarod 
master of this century, "Any kind of mu¬ 
sic, in rhythm, in tune, gives you food for 
your soul.” 

The high-pitched drum, the tabla, is 
made of wood, usually rosewood, tun, or 
shisham. It is 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches in diame¬ 
ter, preferably fitted to the player's right 
hand. The baya, about nine inches in 
diameter at the playing surface, is made of 
clay, rosewood, or, more often, a chrome- 
coated nickel alloy. Both drums stand 
about eleven inches from the floor. The 
heads and straps are made from goat hide. 
On both drums the heads are divided into 
three sections. On the tabla they are named 
as follows: kinar (outer ring), sur (middle 
ring), and gab (inner black dot, pro¬ 
nounced gob). The gab, which accounts 
for the drum's unique overtones, is a pecu¬ 
liar fixation on the playing surface. Con¬ 
cocted of iron filings, ash, and rice paste, it 
looks like the dry skin of a reptile. Though 
many right-handed strokes land on the 
gab, the baya's gab is never directly struck. 
The actual playing area on the baya is 
small. Like some styles for conga, there are 
no cross-hand patterns in tabla playing. 
But unlike the conga, the tabla are never 
forcefully struck. They are quiet drums; 
the strokes come from the fingers and 
wrists, not the arms and the shoulders. 

One enthralling aspect of tabla art is the 
drum language—the words or bols. Each 
stroke has a name, thus any pattern which 
can be played by the hands can be spoken 
by the mouth. In fact, it is good common 
practice to recite a pattern before applying 
it to the drums. (This seemed strange to me 
at first—until I realized that I have similar 
"words" in my head for drumset licks: 
doon-doon-chickun-tss-doon-doon- 
chick, etc. These mental sounds are of 
great value in memorizing beats, songs, 
and fills.) A tabla player's tongue is often 
as fast as the player's hands. During a 
solo—which may last a half-hour!—one 
might hear the drummer chanting bols 
while executing a difficult passage. The 
player may even stop playing entirely, let¬ 
ting the recitation alone express solo ideas. 
(Hear Zakir Hussain on Shakti's Natural 
Elements album—"Get Down and 
Sruti.") 

There are said to be twenty-one strokes 
on the tabla drum alone, but there are de¬ 
finitely seven basic and distinctly differ¬ 
ent-sounding strokes: na, tin, tu, te, tre, 
tete, and tere. The first four are played 
with the index finger; the others use all 
four fingers. Na (or ta) is the rimshot 
sound. Tin comes from an overtone on the 
sur. Both these strokes are dependent on 
the ring finger lying correctly dormant on 
the sur, close to the gab. When the drum is 
really in tune, the tin sound rings out like a 
wind chime. Tu is a quick bounce off the 
gab; te is a flat slap on the gab. Tre is a 


flam, tete and tere are double-strokes. The 
name reflects the sound of the stroke. 

The baya has two basic strokes, kat and 
ghe (closed and open), the last of which 
can involve modulations, or changes in 
pitch. These modulations, which are ef¬ 
fected by pressure and placement changes 
of the lower left wrist, can cover a full oc¬ 
tave. In this sense the baya often serves— 
at least to the Western ear—as the bass gui¬ 
tar. An accomplished drummer can play 
incredible melodic lines on this instrument 
alone. Finally, there are the endless combi¬ 
nations of strokes: na + ghe = dha, tin + 
ghe = dhin, etc. 

Since both hands can play doubles (the 
left plays gege on the baya), there are actu¬ 
ally four parts which strike the drums. If 
these are likened to the four limbs of a trap 
player, it is clear that a tabla drummer can 
play as many notes as a trap player. In ad¬ 
dition, tones can also be changed on the 
baya during a lightening-fast roll, a capa¬ 
bility not inherent in the trap set. How¬ 
ever, the tabla, while agreeable with most 
music, cannot play all styles. Zakir Hus¬ 
sain suggests experimenting with the tabla 
in any style of music except bebop and 
hardcore country. 

Another fruitful feature of the classical 
Indian music is the well-rounded manner 
in which it is taught. The drummers learn 
the scales and ragas, and the melodic in¬ 
strumentalists learn the bols and rhythm 
cycles. In this way, the musicians are 
knowledgeable of each other's parts. Too 
often in the West the drummers learn 
rhythms and the other players learn scales 
and chord progressions—period! But to 
become a proficient musician within the 
vast Indian boundaries (which takes usually 
20 years), one must know what the other 
musician is doing. Odd-time signatures are 
common to the music. A composition may 
call for Tintal, (a 16-beat cycle), Ektal(12- 
beat), Jhaptal (10-beat), or Rupak (7- 
beat)—and the mature player knows what 
to do. And what if someone wants to play 
one of the Upa tals (such as 6 1/2, 8 1/2, or 
11 1/2-beat cycle)? Because Indian tradi¬ 
tion calls for a musically complete "educa- 


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tion, everyone develops good ears and 
good rhythm. This all-inclusive approach 
is parallel to the Yogic concepts ofbalance 
and union: the Indian music path (called 
Nada-Brahma —"the language of God") 
offers not only joy and entertainment, but 
also devotion and self-realization. Accord¬ 
ing to Ali Akbar Khansahib, "The music 
works like a breath of fresh air to help get 
rid of craziness and unhappiness. It is one 
kind of yoga. Real music is not for wealth, 
not for honors, nor even for thejoys of the 
mind, but is a path for realization and sal¬ 
vation; which pure your soul, mind, and 
give you longevity; and this is the way 
which can reach to mukti (liberation) and 
peace." HR 



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DeVitto continuedfrompage 27 
But it was the first time I ever sat down 
behind them, so I was experimenting with 
all the sounds. Tama makes something 
that hooks right on to your regular drum. I 
want to try it in the studio to see if I can get 
that thing and the tone of the drum at the 
same time. With the Syndrum, you only 
get that electronic sound. 

Cl: Have you ever worked with a percus¬ 
sionist? 

LD: Well, Ralph MacDonald did a lot of 
stuff on "Just The Way You Are." He's a 
brilliant percussionist. But he does all that 
after we lay down the basic tracks. I don't 
think I ever played at the same time with a 
percussionist. 

Cl: Do you find it difficult to keep yourself 
amused on the road? 

LD: When you're on the road, you're only 
playing for two hours. You sleep all day. 
You go back to the bar after the show. 
What else are you going to do? "Bar¬ 
tender, give me a drink." The next thing 
you know, you've got the fire extinguish¬ 
ers off the wall. It's hard to keep yourself 
amused on the road. 

Cl: So you do find it boring at times going 
from city to city, even though you are trav¬ 
eling first class now. 

LD: Well, we fly coach on the airplanes 
and take commercial flights. 

Cl: Every little bit saves, but it's a far cry 
from riding in the Pinto. 

LD: It's boring, because every colliseum 
looks the same, every hotel room is the 
same. The big thing on the road is, like 
okay, we're going to Milwaukee and in the 
Vista Hotel there's a great restaurant. We 
can't wait to go down and eat. Or in Flor¬ 
ida we couldn't wait to go eat at Bobby Ru- 
bino's Rib Place. 

Cl: What's your favorite city to play? 

LD: New York. They go wild. Philadel¬ 
phia is a big draw for us too. I like going to 
Australia. 

Cl: Tell me about your experience there. 
LD: The first time Turnstiles was out it was 
a hit in Australia before anyone ever heard 
of it here. So at the time, Billy's manage¬ 
ment company was called Home Run and 
it was in his house. His wife was running 
the whole thing from in his home. I walked 
in the house and on his dining room table 
she had this big map of Australia, and was 
mapping out where we were going to play. 
So Brian Ruggles, the second engineer, 
was sitting there biting his nails, because 
we were going to use sound over there, and 
he was thinking, "They're going to have 
kangaroos setting up the P.A. system." 
When we got there, the sound company 
was as good as any sound company here in 
America. They really worked hard, and 
the halls we played in were beautiful. It 
was just like the U.S. except it seemed as 
though they were a couple of years behind. 
But they were so interested in American 
music it was great. We played five nights at 
the Sidney Opera House the first time we 
were there. 


96 


NOVEMBER 







Cl: What album did you tour Europe 
with? 

LD: We went with The Stranger the first 
time we toured Europe. We played Drury 
Lane; it only has about 1,500 seats. And 
the last time we went we played two nights 
at Wimbley Hall which was 6,000 seats. 
We had a promoter, Alec Leslie, who re¬ 
ally believed in us. He made it grow into 
this huge thing in England. We played in 
Germany and had a good time. It's not as 
wild in Europe. I hate France. The French 
got highly insulted when Billy did that song 
"Get De Tois" on the Glass Houses al¬ 
bum. "You're not speaking the language 
correctly." It was ridiculous. 

Cl: How many times have you toured Ja¬ 
pan? 

LD: Three times. We played three nights at 
the Buddacan. You get off the plane . . . 
here's a present. "Good to see you in Ja¬ 
pan." They can't do enough for you. You 
have to learn how to read them though. 
They'll say yes to everything. But certain 
tones of yes means no. But they'll always 
say yes. 

Cl: Would you ever consider taking on any 
private drum students? 

LD: No. It's too hard. I don't know what 
to teach. How could I teach somebody? 
They would have to want to learn how to 
play like me. How does Buddy Rich do 
that fast roll? I don't know, he just does it. 
Some guys who have the patience to teach 
don't have the patience to go on the road. 
You have to have the head for it. 

Cl: Do you do any warm-up routine prior 
to performing? 

LD: We have a sound cheek for an hour. 
We go there about five-thirty and sound 
check until about seven. We play every¬ 
body else's songs. We play "Born To 
Run," we play Rolling Stones tunes and 
Beatles songs. Maybe just the first tune we 
start the show off with so they can set up 
everything ready to go. That's the most 
fun. 

Cl: What were some of your early playing 
experiences like? 

LD: I played weddings for two years with 
the bass player Doug out on Long Island. I 
learned more about bullshitting your way 
through music by playing weddings—like 
you're playing the bossa nova beat or a 
merenge or a thing where there should be a 
regular set of drums plus a conga player or 
something, but you'd have to fill in for 
everybody. So new beats came up from 
that. Like, if you're playing in a top-forty 
band, you try to copy the record. You're 
the only drummer but you know there's a 
percussion player and everything on the re¬ 
cord. You come up with new things. It's a 
challenge. But you have to make it seem 
full. You can't drop out of one thing and 
go into the other part. That's what hap¬ 
pens with the "Just The Way You Are" 
thing. They're trying to duplicate what 
they hear on the record but there's so many 
continued on next page 



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NOVEMBER 1982 


97 
















• photos and rhythm charts 
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other things involved in that drum beat. 
The guitar player is really making that 
drum beat walk along. 

Cl: The last tour you did with Billy was 
during the summer. Do you prefer one sea¬ 
son over another to be on the road? 

LD: I like to go on the road during the fall. 
It's nice and cool. That summer tour will 
be the last we ever do in the summer. It was 
sohot. 

Cl: Do you ever do outdoor concerts? 

LD: We never play outside. Billy doesn't 
believe in playing outside. If you are sitting 
listening to the speakers and a gust of wind 
comes by it blows half of the sound away. 
And the weather—if it rains, so many 
shows go on in the sloppy mud. It's not for 
us that he doesn't want to play outside; it's 
for the audience. 

Cl: You never use an opening act. Why? 
LD: In Australia, their union requires you 
to join to play there. Then you have to hire 
the same amount of Australian musicians 
as you have in your band. So instead of 
hiring a whole band, we hired a six-piece 
string section. They just set up on the cor¬ 
ner of the stage and we had them play clas¬ 
sical music as the people came in. No, we 
don't like to use opening acts. When I go to 
see a band, I don't want to see the opening 
act—I want to see the band. 

Cl: Some musicians enjoy having a strong 
opening act, claiming it gives them the in¬ 
centive to play at their top level. 


LD: How many groups actually see the 
opening act? You don't get there until 
about five minutes before you're ready to 
go on. The audience is into throwing fris- 
bees, beach balls and those little green 
things that glow. 

Cl: Have you ever been hit by anything 
while you were playing? 

LD: Yes, from behind sometimes they 
want your attention while you are playing. 
So they throw whatever they have. Some¬ 
times they even throw money. I can't 
move, being behind the drums, I'm a sit¬ 
ting duck. 

Cl: You did a Phoebe Snow tour not too 
long ago. How did you like working with 
her? 

LD: Phoebe is great. We had bad luck 
though. We were in Denver—it's a mile 
high and the oxygen is next to nothing. So 
she was breathing oxygen before the show 
and they say when you breathe oxygen, it 
dries you out. So she popped a blood vessel 
or something. She couldn't sing for a few 
weeks, and we had to cancel half the tour. I 
also played on her last album, and I did 
one song on her Against The Grain album. 
Cl: You are doing more studio work with 
other artists than I realized. 

LD: I did twenty songs with Karen Carpen¬ 
ter for a solo album she was going to do 
without her brother. Something happened 
and it did not come out. 

Cl: Phil Ramone is somewhat of a legend 


among record producers. Tell me about 
your experience with him. 

LD: The first time I ever met Phil Ra¬ 
mone . . . you know, you're nervous the 
first time you meet big people. We played 
three nights at Carnegie Hall; we were still 
working our way up to the Garden. Phil 
Ramone came to see us. 

Cl: Was he invited by Billy? 

LD: Yes, he invited Phil, George Martin, 
Jimmy Guercio—all the producers Billy 
was interested in. Jimmy Guercio was in¬ 
volved with Elton John. Elton hadjust had 
a fight with his band and they broke up. So 
Jimmy wanted to use Elton's band with 
Billy. As a matter of fact, the whole Turn¬ 
stiles album was re-recorded with Elton's 
band backing Billy, but Billy didn't like it. 
So he fired Jimmy Guercio, then me and 
Doug went in and did the whole thing. 
Then George Martin didn't want to use 
Billy's band. He loved Billy but didn't like 
the band. Billy was into, "Love me—love 
my band," because he liked playing with 
us. Phil was the first guy who said, "I see 
something in those guys. They're good." 
He can bring out the best in a musician. He 
just pulls it out of you. I was uptight when 
I first met him. He brought me, Richie, 
Doug, and Billy into the studio to play a 
little before he brought in the other musi¬ 
cians, just to make us relax. It was getting 
to know each other. Now, working with 
him, I have fights with him and everything. 


98 


NOVEMBER 

















But he's always right. When we were doing 
"My Life," at the time, disco was really 
big. "My Life" was kind cf a straight beat. 
I said, "I'm not going to play that. It's a 
disco beat." He got up and banged on the 
console and said, "You get out there and 
play that. I know a hit record when I hear 
one. Don't tell me what you're not going to 
play. Get out there. Trust me. That's the 
whole thing, you're supposed to trust your 
producer." Okay, I went out there. Now, 
there's a gold record of "My Life" hang¬ 
ing on my wall. Between Ruggles and him, 
the album that's recorded in concert 
sounds so much like us. It's not like other 
live albums you hear that are thin, where 
there's no bottom or top, but all middle. 
Besides the vocals, the drums are the loud¬ 
est thing when we play live. That's the way 
it's recorded. If I close my eyes, I'd swear I 
was in the colliseum listening to us play. 
Ramone could take a song from just the 
drums and work it up. If the other musi¬ 
cians make mistakes and the drums are 
good, no problem, you can punch in the 
other guys. 

Cl: Do you use a click track when you re¬ 
cord? 

LD: I tried to once but it was such a tight 
thing, there was no relaxed feel. So we 
said, "Forget it." 

Cl: If you couldn't play the drums, what 
would you like to do? 

LD: I really wanted to play the drums seri¬ 
ously since the eighth grade when the Bea¬ 
tles first came out. I knocked around as a 
plumber's helper, and I was playing wed¬ 


dings. I was in a car accident when I was 
twenty-one years old. I almost had to give 
up the drums. I got engaged to some girl 
then and to try to save some money, I was 
playing weddings on the weekends and 
working as a plumber's helper during the 
week. Sometimes, working in a machine 
shop trying to use a honing machine, the 
blades were cutting my fingers. No way. 
Cl: When will you go back into the studio? 
LD: There's nothing for me to do right 
now. They're doing overdubs. I won't go 
in until Billy writes another song. 

Cl: There must be quite a great deal of 
pressure involved in having to write mate¬ 
rial for a deadline. 

LD: He doesn't feel pressured to write an¬ 
other song now, because we have so much 
time to work on these other things like 
overdubs, etc. Before we went into the stu¬ 
dio with this album, me and Billy would go 
riding our motorcycles together and I 
would ask him, "Do you have anything 
new?" He'd say, "No I don't have any¬ 
thing. I can't think of anything!" Then 
he'd go, "I don't know if I could write an¬ 
other album." He just signed with CBS for 
eight more albums. If there are ten songs 
on each album, that means he's got to 
write eighty more songs! 

Cl: I saw you perform on Saturday Night 
Live recently, but I noticed the group was 
minus a sax player. 

LD: The new stuff Billy's writing doesn't 
call for it. But the new album is very or¬ 
chestrated. There's a lot of interesting ma¬ 
terial on it. On one cut, called "Scandana- 


vian Skies," I play five drum tracks on it. 
We did something the other day, it was the 
first time the engineer and I ever did any¬ 
thing like this. We punched in a whole sec¬ 
tion of drums. I did something with splash¬ 
ing cymbals and it didn't sound good. It 
sounded too Broadway. But the rest of the 
track was great. Billy wanted me to play 
straight through that part. So we did it. 
The engineer punched it in exactly in the 
right spot. 

Cl: Last night you went to see the Police 
perform. What did you think of Stewart 
Copeland's playing? 

LD: It's very interesting what he does be¬ 
tween the reggae and the rock. It's also in¬ 
teresting to observe how much influence 
Sting the bass player has on Stewart's play¬ 
ing. Sting is singing and playing at the 
same time, the way McCartney sings and 
plays. Their vocal style comes off of the 
bass. Like Billy would much rather sing 
while he's playing the piano. He sings dif¬ 
ferently. When you're playing with some¬ 
one else, your style is influenced by their 
playing and vice versa. 

Cl: Let's say Stewart was playing with 
Billy for example. His playing would be 
different. 

LD: Right. Let's say we switched drum¬ 
mers. My playing would be more like that, 
and he would be playing more simple, like 
I do, which is the way you have to play in 
that particular role. No matter what situa¬ 
tion you are playing in or who you are 
working with, you have to play together! 


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NOVEMBER 1982 


99 





















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Rudimental Positioning 
For Set And Snare 


by Mark Van Dyck 

When the word "rudimental" is mentioned, many set drummers 
quit listening or dive behind a wall of prejudice. The term often 
brings mental pictures of regimented and inflexible technique to 
kill your style and fun in a boring jumble of details. 

However, set players who've trained their hands through good 
rudimental practice will testify that the truth of rudimental study is 
just the opposite. Rudiments can be a real asset to all drummers. 

A quick check of the world's best percussionists will reveal a 
very high degree of stick control. These drummers are able to play 
at high speeds with power and strength, finesse and softness, all 
according to the demands of the music. Good rudimental training 
can help develop these kinds of hands. 

There's a big difference between just learning the rudiments and 
good rudimental training. In drum corps and on the set, the idea is 
not simply playing the correct sticking. The idea is to perform com¬ 
plex sticking combinations, accents and over-all dynamics at high 
speed with complete control. This means playing consistently with¬ 
out error. Everyone makes mistakes, but good rudimental training 
can greatly reduce the frequency of errors. 

The height of the drumstick over the playing surface is the an¬ 
swer to many stick control problems. This is known as positioning. 
You can't play consistently error free without maintaining the 
proper height for each stroke. This isn't theory. You can prove it 
for yourself. It applies to almost every aspect of set playing where 
the sticks are utilized. Cymbal lines and fills definitely improve 
with good stick control and proper positioning. 

One of your major aims should be to eliminate excess, unneces¬ 
sary and uncontrolled motion. Fast playing originates in the reflex 
centers of the brain and brainstem. It's therefore important to pre¬ 
plan and pre-train your reflexive hand and finger movements so 
that they don't become confused and disorganized in actual play¬ 
ing situations. This is where rudiments and rudimental positioning 
come in. 

Not all of the twenty-six "Standard American Drum Rudi¬ 
ments" as adopted by the National Association of Rudimental 
Drummers are as widely used today as they once were. In their 
place, some alternate stickings have arisen. I've used the stickings I 
thought applicable to the present day situation, and re-ordered the 
rudiments into more logical groupings. 

Some rudiments, such as the flam paradiddle diddle, are rarely 
used today. Others, such as the flam tap and flam accent are ex¬ 
tremely useful on both snare and set. 

Proper use of these rudiments as exercises will enable you to 
develop playing habits that yield a high degree of stick control at 
widely varying speeds and volume levels. 

Three main positioning rules have been applied to each rudi¬ 
ment. 

1. All hits should begin in a low position unless specified other¬ 
wise. 

2. A hit may begin in a high position only if it's accented or is 
the main stroke of a flam or ruff. 

3. When the main stroke of a flam or ruff appears in the same 
rudiment with an accented hit, the accented hit takes precedence 
and is played from the high position. The main stroke begins from 
a medium height. 


Once the correct sticking, spacing and positioning for a rudi¬ 
ment becomes automatic and accurate at a slow speed, gradually 
increase your speed. Accuracy is much more important than speed 
at this stage. Never sacrifice accuracy for speed. Once accuracy, 
control and correct technique have become habitual, speed will be 
relatively easy. 

Before long, you should be able to smoothly play each rudiment 
"open" (slow), picking up speed until it's "closed" (fast), gradu¬ 
ally slowing again until it's once more "open" (slow). 

Use the sticking, spacing and position exactly as indicated. Rep¬ 
etition is important to establishing proper reflexes and good play¬ 
ing habits. 

Low position is two to five inches above the playing surface, 
Medium position is five to eight inches, and High position is eight 
to fourteen inches. Be consistent within these limits. For example, 
if volume requirements dictate a low height of two inches, play all 
your low strokes uniformly at that height. 

Once a hit is made, the stick should rebound directly to the cor¬ 
rect height for the next stroke without any extra motion. 

Whatever care and effort you put in will pay off later, so be pa¬ 
tient, relax and have fun. 


All strokes even height 
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____ continued on next page 


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NOVEMBER 1982 














































































































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NOVEMBER 





































































































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"Duke Wellington,” 

"Yep, sore played a mean saxophone, ole Woozie’" 

"You're nutty as a fruitcake 1 . Woozie was a drummer if there 
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to his sticks/’ 

"Ain’t he still at it, sandin' the shafts of red hickory drumsticks 
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"Can't say as I remember.’’ 


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Ludwig continuedfrom page 31 



THE FIRST REAL 
DRUMSTICK 
BREAKTHROUGH 
SINCE THE 
TREE BRANCH.- 


If a Neanderthal drummer 
picked up one of today’s wooden 
drumsticks, he’d feel right at home. 
yr He might haw whittled it himself, a 

** few thousand years ago. 

Rut if he tried a Duraline SuperStick, he'd 
know right away he was onto something special. 

Of course, he wouldn’t understand about the miracle 
Kevlar fibers, wound so tight that the stick would literally 
explode if the binding compound ever gave way (it won’t). 

What he would appreciate is the incredible power and 
responsiveness of SuperSticks. Once you get used to them, 
you’ll find yourself playing better—with less effort 
—than you ever could with Wooden Age sticks. 


Breakthroughs in drumming 

11300 Rush St., So. El Monte, CA 917:13 


It was exciting. We worked 5 1/2 days a 
week; five days in the factory and the other 
half-day in the office. Sometimes, on Sat¬ 
urday afternoons when no one was 
around, we'd play tympani or drums, or 
set up outfits. Sunday we rested up for 
Monday. At night I would go out to listen 
and talk to drummers. From them I 
learned what was needed and then we 
would develop products that would meet 
their demands. We lived and worked from 
year to year; from catalog to catalog. 

DL: Ludwig was quickly established in the 
rock and roll market because of the fact 
that Ringo played Ludwig drums. How did 
that come about? 

WL: He bought them. We never gave 
Ringo anything. In 1963 the Beatles burst 
on the scene and for two and a half years 
we were producing four-drum "Beatle" 
outfits on double shifts. This is the way it 
happened: 

Up until 1960 we hadn't thought much 
about exporting drums. There was a lot of 
business in this country, plane travel took 
longer than it does today, and communica¬ 
tion wasn't as good. Exporting was com¬ 
plicated. 

In 1960 a British entrepreneur, Iver 
Arbiter, visited a convention and asked if 
he could distribute our products in Eng¬ 
land. Nobody had ever asked us before. 
We said, "Why not?" 

At the same time, we had received a new 
finish from our supplier of pearl. It was 
black, and also came in blue and pink. We 
decided to accept it and test it out on the 
market. I was called upon to give it a name. 
All I could think of was that it looked like 
the inside of an oyster shell, so I called it 
Oyster pearl. 

This British distributor ordered a dozen 
sets in Oyster black and a dozen in Oyster 
blue. We put them all together and sent 
them to him. He put them in his store, 
which was just off Picadilly Circus in Lon¬ 
don. One of the Oyster black four-piece 
sets was put in the window. 

The Beatles had just returned from their 
success in Hamburg. Ringo had a few 
pounds in his pocket so he went shopping 
for a new set of drums. He went into Arbi¬ 
ter's store and asked for a certain make of 
drums. The clerk, however, had been told 
by his boss to push the Ludwigs. He 
directed Ringo's attention to the window, 
to that black oyster set. Ringo was swayed 
by the fact that it was from America. The 
clerk gave him a good price and Ringo 
bought the set on the condition that the 
Ludwig logo be painted on the front head 
of the bass drum. 

When I saw the pictures I didn't think it 
was such a good idea to be so blatant about 
putting the name on the bass drum. But, 
Arbiter said that his customers were asking 
for the sets that way. We made decals for 
the English shipments. When the Beatles 





appeared on the Ed Sullivan show we had 
to go out and buy thousands of decals. We 
started putting them on all the bass drum 
heads. 

We never made contact with Ringo. He 
picked Ludwig that day, in that store. He 
was never an endorsee. We could never get 
in touch with him because he was always 
surrounded by such a large, protective, 
group. The closest I ever got to him was at 
a press conference at the Amphitheater in 
Chicago. We had made him a gold-plated 
snare drum. When I gave it to him, I don't 
think he knew who I was. As a matter of 
fact, the last time I saw that gold-plated 
drum it was under the arm of a police secu¬ 
rity guard. 

DL: What other trends started in the '60s? 
WL: There was the Beatles and there was 
"Total Percussion." At the time, our mar¬ 
keting department was led by a very inno¬ 
vative and brilliant young man named 
Richard Schory. Dick Schory was quite a 
visionary. He coined the expression 
"Total Percussion." I gave him free reign 
and he ran with the ball. Dick Schory was 
looking past the Beatle era while it was still 
going on. 

Dick searched out composers and com¬ 
missioned them to write short, program¬ 
matic pieces for percussion ensemble. 
Ludwig underwrote this enterprise. The 
software created the desire to form percus¬ 
sion ensembles which made a market for 
total percussion, not just drumsets. To this 
day a good part of our business is in school 
orchestras, bands and marching groups. 

All areas of percussion grew in the '60s. 
The marching percussion scene was truly 
exciting. We got involved in manufactur¬ 
ing portable tympani, we pioneered Timp- 
Toms and multiple carriers. We also 
improved our symphonic tympani and our 
orchestral line. 

The '50s and '60s were great eras but 
there's a lot more going on today. Ideas 
were germinating in the '60s but today is 
the most marvelous age of percussion ever. 
Don't confuse the excitement of the open¬ 
ing of an era with the climax of the era. 

DL: Some of the major developments in 
the last few years have been in the versatil¬ 
ity and strength of hardware. How do you 
decide which products to make? 

WL: We're all trying to be different. That's 
why there have been so many "bummers" 
on the market. You think of something 
nobody else has and you beat them to the 
market. History has shown which ideas 
worked and which haven't. 

To expand on Danly's question, "Is it 
good," you also have to ask, "Is it 
needed? Is it an original idea or is it an 
improvement on somebody else's idea?" 
Most improvements come from a combi¬ 
nation of inside (factory) and outside (con¬ 
sumer) developments. 

The first counter hoops were straight 
continued on next page 


THE FIRST REAL 
DRUMHEAD 
BREAKTHROUGH 
SIHCE THE 
AHIMAL HIDE. 




Cavemen stretched dried animal skins over them drums 
thousands of years ago. 

Not much has changed since then. Even “modern” my¬ 
lar heads still split, stretch, and go out of tune. 

But not SuperHeads from Duraline. Their woven Kevlar 
construction lets you tune them to any pitch you want with¬ 
out worrying about tearing (the drum would break first). 

And SuperHeads are free of the undesirable overtones 
you spend so much time trying to get rid of with conventional 
heads. Depending on your application, you can choose Con¬ 
cert SuperHeads for a bright, “live” tone, or Studio Super- 
Heads with the ideal sound for close-miked recording. Or 
mix both types for even more possibilities. 



Breakthroughs in drumming 

11800 Rush St., So. El Monte. CA 91788 









strips of steel. Somebody put a single 
flange [bend] on it because the sheer edge 
of the hoop cut the calfskin as it was drawn 
down. Then, to further protect the head, 
somebody created the double-flange hoop. 

In 1939, our chief engineer came down 
from his second floor office and handed me 
the first triple-flange hoop the world had 
ever seen. He had taken a pair of pliers and 
bent the top edge of a double flange hoop 
out to make a third flange. He asked me, 
"Do you think there would be a market for 
this?" I told him I didn't know. 

We put it on a drum and beat it up a 
little. The first thing we noticed was that it 
was easier to make rim shots. The second 


thing was that it didn't chew up the stick. 
But the third, and most important thing, 
was that nobody else had it. 

We took the hoop to drummers and the 
response was good. We showed it at the 
summer convention and we took some 
orders. For fifteen years we were the only 
ones to have the triple-flange hoop. 

For a long time nothing much hap¬ 
pened. Then, about fifteen years ago, the 
age of high tension came upon us. Drum 
corps, in an effort to gain an advantage in 
the field of competition, would tighten 
their drums to great limits. Eventually, 
they reached the point where the steel 
hoops would bend. Even when we used 


steel that was twice as thick they bent. 

Diecasting is the only type of construc¬ 
tion that would take the stress of 40,000 
pounds per square inch. It's solid. But, 
even diecast hoops with ears bend. That's 
why we went to an "ear-less" hoop; twin 
channels of metal with holes drilled 
through for the tension rods. 

They were designed for drum corps 
needs where they're tightening the heads 
that tight to win a contest. The winning 
edge, in the contestant's mind, is defined as 
a half turn more tension than the other 
corps. They're already tight, as tight as a 
table, but in the nervous anticipation of 
stepping out onto a field of combat they'll 
go around one last half turn to get 'em up. 
It isn't exactly a musical need. 

DL: So, at least in this case, bigger is bet¬ 
ter. 

WL: We're not talking bigger, we're talk¬ 
ing stronger. We're talking about mechan¬ 
ically answering high-tension needs. We 
now build wrenches to tighten heads 
because a regular drum key won't work. 

You always have this tendency to think 
that bigger is better. That's why battle¬ 
ships were built. Carriers got so big that 
when an airplane came along it easily sank 
them. Bigger was not better. It didn't make 
any difference how big they were. 

In jazz, four drums and medium weight 
hardware is enough. Hard rock takes a lot 
of pounding. If you're going to play rock, 
with the butt ends of 3S sticks, you're 
going to push the drums around something 
bad. When you hit everything so hard, it 
shakes and shakes loose. Then you need 
heavy-duty hardware. What the drum 
industry is doing is answering a demand. 
That makes hardware heavier, longer to 
set up, and longer to knock down. 

DL: Is there an end? Is it big enough? 

WL: Yes, there's an end. There's already a 
reaction setting in. I'm getting more and 
more letters saying, "Your stuff is break¬ 
ing my back. Make something lighter." 
Our modular line is our maximum. That's 
heavy enough, but we're not the heaviest 
on the market. 

DL: What is the Ludwig philosophy of 
how to make drums? 

WL: We make everything in our own 
building. My father was a firm believer 
that if you make it, you control it. You 
control the process, the prices and, above 
all, you control the quality. My father 
taught me a few secrets so that I can take 
any drum off the assembly line, glance at it, 
tap it, run my finger over, and then reject 
or pass it. I also have a tape measure that I 
carry with me at all times. That's as much 
as I can tell you about that. 

My father also believed that a drum 
should be lightweight but strong. The 
lightest construction that he could con¬ 
ceive of, and he made hundreds of thou¬ 
sands of drums, was 3-ply construction 
with a reinforcement ring to provide 


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can play that way now because 
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Stanley Spector It has nothing to 
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1 am a much happier person I 
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with good musicians, 

1 once took my personal pro- 
blems to a psychologist for help 
Stanley Spector is better Mr 
Spector made it clear to me that 
he is not a psychologist, but he 
helped me to understand that 
playing the drums is not some¬ 
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when approached wilh a high 
level of attention is life. When I 
caught on to the fact that the 
same quality o! attention can be 
applied to every other activity in 
life, the personal problems no 
longer exist m the same way h ' 



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106 


NOVEMBER 






















strength at the tensioning edges. 

The reinforcement ring was never con¬ 
sidered to have any direct link to sound. 
No one thought about what it did to 
sound; it was a construction must for bet¬ 
ter than sixty-five years. A 3-ply shell with¬ 
out the reinforcement ring distorts and is 
not rigid; that ruins the sound. 

Rock drummers, however, need a wide 
range of tones. That's a characteristic of 
rock drumming. To get that variety of 
pitches you have to mount a variety of 
tom-toms on the bass drum. Therefore, 
you have to have a metal framework that 
will support a number of drums. When 
you add that weight you add stress to the 
shell. The 3-ply shell was no longer strong 
enough. The drum companies were faced 
with either blocking up the interior of the 
drum or adding more plies to the shell. 

It was easier to add more plies. It wasn't 
for sound alone. We thought of a mechani¬ 
cal manner in which we could make the 
middle of the drum strong enough to sup¬ 
port the increased stress. We went to six, 
thick plies so you had strength at the edge 
of the shell and all the way through the 
shell. It was no longer necessary to have 
reinforcement rings. That changed a lot of 
things. 

DL: What types of materials do you use 
for your drums? 

WL: We use maple because it's a hard 
wood and it finishes up great. We use 
mahagony because it's a softer wood and 
it's easily malleable. We use the combina¬ 
tion of maple and mahagony because of 
their compatibility. Those are the woods 
that are available in large supply at the 
lowest price. We don't use exotic woods 
because they're expensive and have no 
acoustical advantages, that I can detect. I 
don't think it makes any difference 
whether you use maple, mahagony, or 
rosewood. The important thing is that the 
drum is made of thick plies that are cross- 
grained. 

The cross-grain, and the eveness of the 
molds (around which the plies are succes¬ 
sively laid and cured with heat and pres¬ 
sure from the flat to the round state), are 
going to determine the strength and long- 
lasting attributes of the shell. 

Brass is used for snare drums because it 
is malleable, ductile, reasonably priced, 
plentiful, takes a good plating job, and 
sounds well. 

We got into stainless-steel drums 
because we wanted to make a lightweight 
metal snare drum with a tough finish for 
the field. Stainless steel drums are perfectly 
round and will last forever. People who 
bought stainless steel drums invested 
wisely. We have all the molds and machin¬ 
ery to make stainless steel drums, but, 
unfortunately, the price went out of sight. 

I don't know if shell material makes any 
difference in the sound. Vistalite drums 
weren't for sound as much as for a visual 


effect. Users did tell us that they were dif¬ 
ferent to play on, though. 

Flutes used to be made of wood. For the 
better part of a century, flutists insisted 
that there was no better sound than a wood 
flute. Today, they're all metal. What hap¬ 
pened? Yet, when H.M. White, the 
founder of King Band Instrument Co., 
attempted to switch the trade from wood 
to metal clarinets it was an utter failure. 

I often marvel at young people who tour 
our factory. They'll see some all-wood 
drums and say, "Man, those sound won¬ 
derful!" They've never even played them. 
But, put a pearl or cortex covering on the 
drum and they'll say it doesn't sound as 


good. They're "cross-sensing"; they're 
hearing with their eyes. 

Sound is nebulous. You like a sound—I 
don't. I like a sound that you don't. The 
next fellow comes along and doesn't like 
either of the sounds we like; he likes 
another sound. So, when we say that a 
drum sounds good, to whom does it sound 
good? 

I wish that there was a machine that you 
could put a drum in that would say "good 
sound" or "bad sound" on an indicator. 
It would be easy. We wouldn't sell the 
drum that had a bad sound. Drums sound 
different; there are no two alike. But never 
continued on next page 



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107 



NOVEMBER 1982 








say one sounds better than another. 

DL: Why are certain drum sizes standard? 
Were drum companies originally limited to 
making only those sizes? 

WL: No. We could make any size. All the 
drum companies could make any size. I 
came into the business in 1937. The first 
tuneable tom-toms were introduced a 
couple of years prior to that. In those days, 
drums were single-tension to keep the price 
down. The top head was calfskin and the 
bottom head was pigskin, tacked to the 
drum. 

The Dixieland drum setup that Ray 
Bauduc used with the Bob Crosby band at 
that time was a 7x11 and an 8x12, 
mounted on the bass drum, and a 14 x 16 
on the floor. Because of his fame, that 
setup was a stock item in our catalog for 
quite a while. 

The 9x13 was also of that era. Gene 
Krupa chose that size and used only one 
tom-tom on the bass drum. After that, eve¬ 
rybody who wanted to play swing went to 
9x13. 

DL: So there was no acoustic reason that 
the drums were certain sizes? They were 
just what was being used? 

WL: I don't know why it came to be 9 x 13. 
It could have been 9 x 14 or 8 x 13. There 
was never any question, until you brought 
it up, as to why. That shows you what 
Modern Drummer is doing: It's finding 


out; it's questioning. In addition to pro¬ 
ducing a desired sound, the shell size was 
often determined by its compatibility to 
available holders and manufacturing 
equipment. 

The Dixieland sound was short and 
muted. The swing sound was more reso¬ 
nant and open throated. What worked for 
Dixieland wouldn't work for swing. 

There is no reason to think that we con¬ 
ducted acoustical research at the factory. 
We didn't hit a drum and say, "Oh, that 
one sounds better than this." Remember, 
when you say one sound is better than 
another, who's to say it sounds better? 
You, or me? We're both different. Even 
back in the '30s you couldn't get people to 
say that an 8x 12 sounded better than a 
9x13 because what do you mean "bet¬ 
ter"? Ray Bauduc loved his sound. Gene 
Krupa loved his, and later, Ray McKinley 
went to a 16 x 16 because he wanted to slug 
it out in a lower register. He added a couple 
of inches to the shell depth, that's all. 

And there it hung; 9x13 and 16x 16. I 
used to listen to bands and say, "That's the 
ultimate. There'll never be a need for any¬ 
thing but those two sizes." But drummers 
started to experiment and styles changed. 
DL: What factors should be considered 
when deciding which drum to buy? Shell, 
hardware, finish, sound, ads, who else 
plays that make; in short is a drummer 
buying product or image? 

WL: All of that: product, image, reputa¬ 
tion, history, service, friend's recommen¬ 
dations, and gut feelings. For a drum com¬ 
pany to be successful it has to do 
everything. We wouldn't be in business if 
we didn't have a decent product, at a fair 
price, year in and year out, backed by parts 
and service. You should always play the 
drum you intend to purchase. It has to 
sound and feel right to you; you're the one 
that's going to play it. Remember, the 
choice of one drum over another is a mat¬ 
ter of personal taste. 

DL: Has everything that can be done to a 
drum been done? Haven't we reached the 
end of drum development? 

WL: I don't see how you can make a state¬ 
ment like that. That's like saying nobody's 
going to think anymore; nobody's going to 
invent anymore. There's going to be a lot 
of new things done. I've got two inventions 
sitting on my desk right now. 

We're alive; percussion is alive. But, you 
don't just sit down and say, "Now I'm 
going to invent a new pedal." No way! 
You sit down and you get some pedals and 
you study them and you take them apart 
and put them back together. Then you say, 
"Hey, here's something nobody's thought 
of." 

You make a model. Now, who's going 
to make the pedal? You find someone to 
make it. Now, who's going to buy it? 
Ninety-seven percent of all patents taken 
out are never produced. Of the 3% that 


find their way into production, only half 
are successful. 

That's 98.5% failure. It's a high risk. 
Success doesn't come easy. 

DL: One of the things that the Ludwig 
Drum Company has always been involved 
in is the area of education. How did that 
come about? 

WL: My father never tired of telling me 
how, one day in 1925, he got a telephone 
call from Joliet, Illinois. In those days, 
that was long distance. The band director 
of the Joliet High School band asked my 
father if he could come out and get his 
drummers organized. My father was inter¬ 
ested. 

He started out one morning in the old 
Stanley Steamer. He went to that school 
and he was appalled at the condition of the 
drum section. He gave the kids a lesson 
and the band director thanked him by buy¬ 
ing all Ludwig equipment. My father never 
forgot that. 

He wrote books and published them. He 
standardized the rudiments and passed 
them out to drummers. It built the busi¬ 
ness, but above all, he was doing some¬ 
thing that he enjoyed. He was helping 
young people. That's been the spirit of the 
company. To this day we have an extensive 
educational department. 

DL: How does a drummer become a 
Ludwig clinician and who, besides the 
drum company, benefits from it? 

WL: Generally, you endorse a drum just 
by playing it. We'll hear about a player 
from a dealer or someone on our staff. A 
player's reputation, name recognition, vis¬ 
ibility, demand, and his presentation 
determine his value to the company. For 
example, Ed Shaughnessy, and his drums, 
appear before fourteen million television 
viewers every night and Ed is a great clini¬ 
cian. 

The bottom line for the drum company 
is to sell drums, but we're not the only ones 
who benefit from the program. The dealer 
needs sales to live. We try to give him a 
clinician that will help his sales as well as 
educate. The drummers get an opportunity 
to see a professional drummer and they 
also get information. The clinician gets a 
fee that has been set by prior arrangement. 
He also gets exposure. Each endorsee or 
clinician has an arrangement that has been 
adjusted to their needs and abilities as well 
as ours. Everyone involved benefits. 

DL: Some people say that the American 
drum companies allowed the Japanese to 
get into the drum market. How do you feel 
about it? 

WL: Well, I've heard this in a few places 
and to me, it's just foolish. You don't 
allow a competitor to come into the mar¬ 
ket; he comes in. You don't allow him or 
disallow him. The competition decides he 
wants to be in the drum business and he's 
in it. We didn't "allow it"; we objected, 
but they did it anyway. 


103 


NOVEMBER 















Of course, we competed and struggled 
to keep them out. We always took them 
seriously. But, because of lower labor 
costs and preferential tariff treatment, it 
has become more and more difficult to 
compete on an equal basis. 

For instance, drums are imported into 
the United States from Taiwan duty-free, 
yet when we ship our drums into Taiwan, a 
duty of 50% is slapped on them, plus addi¬ 
tional tariffs and penalties amounting to 
another 65%; total 115% on top of the 
price of the drums. 

Look at automobiles, look at steel, look 
at electronics; all are now Japanese domi¬ 
nated. Our government says, ’’Come in 
and sell your goods in America so that you 
will be strong and help us resist Commu¬ 
nism." American industry is a victim of a 
larger picture. I don't see how anyone can 
say we, the Music Industry, or any indus¬ 
try "allowed" the Japanese to penetrate 
our markets. 

DL: Ludwig was the last major drum com¬ 
pany to be sold to a larger company. Why 
did that happen? 

WL: The business has changed. It has 
become as important to finance dealers as 
it is to design and build good products. 
What kind of terms can you provide? 
What kind of interest rates? Do you have a 
lease plan for schools? We, at Ludwig, 
were aware of our limitations. We don't 
have the capital that a large company, like 
Selmer, has. 

We were also aware of our limitations in 
marketing. For instance, we had thirteen 
salesmen on our sales force; Selmer had 
over thirty. Since both call on the same 
dealers, we found we could combine the 
two sales forces into one. 

Thirdly, The Selmer Company has the 
engineering experience to assist Ludwig's 
engineers in developing new products and 
continuing our forward momentum 
through the 1980s. 

What I did was join a larger company 
with the management and financial ability 
to merchandise Ludwig products under 
more lenient credit terms. All the domestic 
drum companies that were private are now 
part of the larger companies for strength. 
My family and I didn't have to sell the 
company, but now Ludwig offers more 
than it could when it was just a family busi¬ 
ness. 

DL: How will the recent merger with The 
Selmer Company affect Ludwig Indus¬ 
tries? 

WL: Things are better than ever. I am 
working for Selmer as the president of 
Ludwig Industries. Selmer is going to man¬ 
age and operate the three plants of Ludwig 
Industries in conjunction with the total 
operation of their seven other plants, all of 
which make musical instruments. That 
leaves me free to pay more attention to 
research and design, quality control, and 
to get out and meet my friends again, op 

NOVEMBER 1982 


Readers Platform continuedfrompage 4 

JAKE HANNA 

Regarding your portrait of Jake Hanna, 
I was appalled to see this man, respected as 
a wonderful drummer and musician, 
spend so much energy telling us how the 
only good music was written forty years 
ago. He also spent too much time putting 
down the modern musicians whose music 
and styles are as foreign to him as his were 
to his predecessors. The only thing he 
didn't mention was how much money rock 
musicians make. That would've iced the 
cake. As for old music being the only good 
music—this comes from Mr. Hanna's 
closed-mindedness and his inability to 
adjust with changing times.. Finally, Mr. 
Hanna kept stressing taste. I question how 
much taste it takes to being in a position of 
being portrayed by MD, and then putting 
down other musicians that play a different 
style. I don't ever remember hearing a rock 
musician so generally demean "those jazz 
musicians." 

CHUCK WOODHAMS 
WRENTHAM.MA 


TRIXON DRUMS 

In your July article, From The Past, I 
must take issue with your assessment of 
Trixon Drums as worthy of the "Bomb Of 
The Century Award." Though never hav¬ 
ing owned such a set, I had the opportunity 
of taking a close look at one back in 1967.1 
found nothing objectionable in the Trixon 
asymetrical bass drum, other than head 
availability. I can't believe that Trixon's 
engineering and production staff would 
tool-up for such a design just for the sake 
of being "gimmicky," any more than I 
could accuse the North people of being 
fiberglass freaks. In retrospect, I would 
commend the designers, for the most part, 
on their creative approach to what could 
have been just another third-rate drum 
company. Thanks for an otherwise inter¬ 
esting article in a fine magazine. 

JAMES NEVERMANN 
AUBURN, WASHINGTON 


LM-1 VS. SOCIETY 

The development of the LM-1 tells us a 
great deal about the way our society is go¬ 
ing and how this is being reflected in music. 
Like Dr. Johnson's famous remark about 
a dog walking on it's hind legs, "The won¬ 
der is not that it is done well, but that it is 
done at all." There's no way a machine 
will ever sound like Shelly Manne or vice 
versa. 

BRUCE MORLEY 
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND 


PROS AND A CON 

Being married to a drummer, I picked 
out MD as a "stocking stuffer" for my 
husband for Christmas. I've been reading 
some of the articles and I'm learning to 
understand his love for drums and much 
more. Super articles like The History of 
Rock Drumming really help me. Another 
great article I cut out for a booklet for my 
granddaughter was Carolyn Brandy/ 
Barbara Borden: Alive! One sorry note of 
displeasure is the Dean Markley ad in the 
July issue. It's not worthy of your great 
magazine. I'm also writing to them and 
I'm sending a copy of the ad to MS. Maga¬ 
zine who often show these as bad examples 
of advertising. I know ads are necessary, 
but good ones are possible. 

MILLICENT LYNN 
SHILACTA, PA 


ROLAND VAZQUEZ 

Many thanks for the interview with 
Roland Vazquez. His comments concern¬ 
ing the emotional aspects of music was 
enjoyable reading. What wasn't as enjoy¬ 
able was that Vazquez will rob L.A. of the 
cultural integrity—which the city badly 
needs—if he ever settles in New York City. 

J.D. MITCHELL 
LOS ANGELES. CA 


OHIO U. CLINIC 

I'd like to put in a good word to three 
very special people in drumming. I recently 
attended the Summer Jazz Drumming 
Clinic at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. 
Ed Soph, Guy Remonko and Bob Breit- 
haupt were tremendous. Their patience 
and understanding equal their ability to 
play. Not only was it a pleasure to see them 
play—they explained and made applica¬ 
tions on drumming that were easily under¬ 
stood. Those who attended also had the 
pleasure of hearing and talking to Alan 
Dawson. So, thanks to Ed, Guy, Bob and 
Alan. This aspiring drummer gained many 
new ideas and a great experience. 

MARK SCHAFFIRT 
MIDDLETOWN. OH 



SUBSCRIBE 

TO 

MOOeKII 

DRummeR 

TODAY 


109 












FOR SALE 


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STUDY MATERIALS 


LEARN TO "SIGHT-READ" CHARTS . 
“THRU THE MAI| FOR FREE INFORMA¬ 
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110 


NOVEMBER 1902 




























MONSTER POWER PAQKAGE-by Danny 
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rhyih ms. To t si vale 0 £14.00 - YOU ft PRiCE 
510.QQ, Send check or M.O, to DENNV 
K1NNE. Dept. M-B. 202 Auburn Ava.. Stat&n. 
Island. NY 1031 4, _ 

SECRETS on how to play like the man who 
smashed his way to ihe top of Rock £ Roll! 
BQNZD BEATS shows you what to play in 
detail on Ihe most popular songs ever 
heard! Order this special limited edition 
now f Only £7.95 +- £1.25 handling, CH ECKJ 
M.O. NEWTON PRESS, 528 S, Guadalupe, 
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THE POWER OF POSITIVE DRUMMING * 
How often has lack of s^ll-conlidc rtce kepi 
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CONGA STUDY CASSETTE far Advanced 
Players, now available from Drummers 
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YOU CAN BE A SUCCESSFUL SQNG^ 
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NSTRUCTION 


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canfintjedon fwgp 

111 


NOVEMBER 1992 


















by Hal Blaine 

Q: I've written a song that I'd like John 
Denver to see. You're one of my favorite 
drummers, and John is one of my favorite 
male singers. How can I reach John Den¬ 
ver, and do you think he will listen to my 
songs? 

L.S. 

JEFFERSON CITY, MO 
A: John is always open to singing other 
people’s music if it's good. Send the mate¬ 
rial to Mr. John Denver, Aspen, Colo¬ 
rado. He'll absolutely get it; he's the only 
John Denver up there. I'm sure he'll listen 
to it because he always does. You never 
know when that next big "Country Boy" 
song is coming. 

Don't forget that there are other artists 
who are looking for good songs. It's really 
quite simple. Find out what label they're 
on and send the song there. Be sure that 
you have it copyrighted first. It's not that 
anyone's going to go out and steal your 
song, but sometimes people hear things 
and get ideas. It'll save you a lot of heart¬ 
ache. 

If you don't have a publisher and can't 
copyright immediately—write your lead 
sheet or melody and a copy of the lyrics 
down on paper. Put it into an envelope and 
seal it. Take it to the post office and regis¬ 
ter the envelope to yourself so that in the 
event of any legal litigation, you can take 
this to court and it'll stand up. The best 
way to protect yourself is to get a copyright 
and do it through a publisher. If you have a 
publisher, then they should be sending 
your music around. 


Q: I'm eighteen. I decided to send this 
demonstration tape and letter for you to 
listen to. I'd appreciate it very much if you 
could give me any advice or help in getting 
started as a professional drummer. 

T.S. 

STOUGHTON, MA 

A: I just listened to your tape and I'm re¬ 
ally impressed. You say you want to be¬ 
come a professional drummer—I think it 
should be quite easy. It sounds like you 
have dynamite fast hands, but I want you 
to remember that that's not all of being a 
drummer. A drummer's place, generally, 
is in the rhythm section. They hire you to 
help keep the beat, hold a steady tempo, 
back up the singer, back up the lead guitar 
player, and back up whoever's playing so¬ 



MD readers can write to Hal Blaine in 
care of: Staying In Tune, Modern Drum¬ 
mer Magazine, 1000 Clifton Are., Clif¬ 
ton. NJ 07013 


los. When it's your solo, then you can go 
crazy and do anything you want. But, I 
think the big thing you're going to have to 
think about if you do want to be a profes¬ 
sional drummer is that you are a part of a 
unit; part of a group. I know that we're all 
showoffs, but you really do your best 
showing off when it's your turn. When it's 
your solo, it's helpful to really build a 
foundation for the musicians that you're 
working with. They want to hear and feel 
you play. They want to know that you're 
holding the beat for them. That's part of 
the rhythm section. Keeping the beat con¬ 
stant and steady—that's one of the big 
things to work on. 


Q: First, I want to compliment you on your 
Staying In Tune column. Due to positive 
thinking Ifeel my drumming has improved 
and doors are starting to open. I'm seven¬ 
teen and have been playing drums for five 
years. I'm currently in my school dance 
band, marching band and concert band. I 
plan on taking music courses in college and 
becoming a professional studio musician. 
How didyou begin your career as a studio 
musician? Do you make your own hours? 
Is it a hectic life? Do you have time for 
your family and yourself? Do you receive a 
gold record every time you play on a gold 
record? 

D.R. 

BALTIMORE, MD 
A: I'm glad that my article gave you inspi¬ 
ration to practice. Practice makes perfect. 
That's an old cliche, but it's true. I'm 
happy to hear that you want to do your 
own thing on drums. I think it's very im¬ 
portant that everyone do their own thing 
on drums. Learn from the pros—learn to 
copy. That doesn't hurt a bit. Get the good 
licks—get all the licks, then make up your 
own licks. 

I'm really happy that you're in the 
school band, concert band and marching 
band and that you're going to take music 
courses in college. I can't stress enough 
how important it is, if you're going to be in 
a profession, to really know it backwards. 

I really started my studio career with 
Tommy Sands years ago. He was a super- 
star in the late '50s. My career kind of blos¬ 
somed from there. 

It is a hectic life and you will not have a 
lot of time for your family and yourself if 


you overbalance yourself in the studio. 
I've talked about balance before. It's very 
important to not do just one thing all the 
time. Find things that you can get away 
from music with, that you can clear your 
head with, so that you don't become just 
"a drummer." You've got to be a human 
being. 

As far as making my own hours, nowa¬ 
days I'm very fortunate to be working 
mostly in commercials and I don't have to 
take up all the hours that it takes to make 
records. Commercials usually only take an 
hour or two. It's kind of nice to do one or 
two of those a day. 

As far as the gold records—many years 
ago I was, fortunately, doing a record with 
The Byrds called "Mr. Tambourine 
Man," and at that time, I asked producer 
Terry Melcher if I could have a gold record 
if the song was a hit. It was a hit and the 
rest was history. Whenever we did gold re¬ 
cords after that we asked for them. There 
were a lot of hits and a lot of gold records 
that did come in from producers who were 
very gracious enough to give them to some 
of us. 


Q: In touring the country, I'm constantly 
asked by drummers about drum endorse¬ 
ments and equipment. There seems to be a 
lot of talk about Tama and Pearl. With so 
much gear being put on the market, it has a 
lot of young drummers wondering what to 
do. I know it's a touchy subject, but there 
are a lot of drummers interested in what 
you have to say. 

J.J. 

NASHVILLE, TN 
A: Tama and Pearl make very fine drums. 
I don't know if you're going to find one 
drum that is absolutely the finest. It's a 
personal thing. I've played on just about 
all the sets of drums and they all have 
something I like. It's just like test driving: 
Get out and look at these drums and feel 
them out. If you're a professional, most 
drum shops will let you look over anything 
you want, knowing that you're not going 
to break anything. I don't think anyone 
can really tell you that anything is the fin¬ 
est, because one drumset might feel good 
in the recording studio and it may not feel 
good on stage, or vice versa. That's why 
some guys have more than one set of 
drums for various things. 


1 15 


NOVEMBER 





















The May EA. 

It gets into the sound and out 

of your way. 


Inside the drum. 

That’s where the sound L - 

happens. That’s where the 
May EA miking system fits. 

The first real breakthrough in drum 
amplification, the May EA system can be 
mounted easily inside any drum, quickly 
plugs into live or studio boards. Once 
installed, it mikes the internal acoustics 
of each drum individually, amplifying 
only the drum in which it is mounted, to 
eliminate microphone leakage and phase 
cancellation. What you hear is what you 
feel-pure, unadulterated drum. Nothing 
synthetic about it. 

Capable of being rotated 180“ the 
unit allows each drum to be individually 
equalized to balance tone and volume, to 
let you isolate a wide range of internal 
frequencies. You get more sound per 
drum. You get total control. 


And the May EA 
stays out of your way. 
It eliminates mike and 
boom stands and frees up 
the batter head of your drum—frees up 
your playing. It cuts way back on set-up 
and break-down time, too. You just plug 
in and play. 

The system that turns on your drum. 


■ The specially designed shock mourn eliminates mechan¬ 
ical vibration. 

■ The externa! turning knob allows the system to be rotated 
a full IHO for proximity effect . 

■ The 3 pin cannon plug connects the unit through a 
shielded cable to balance the line out for compatibility 
with five or studio boards. 


Look for the May EA at your focal drum dealer 
or contact: May EA, 8312 Seaport Drive, 
Huntington Beach, California 92646. Phone 
(714> 536-2505, 


Listen for the May EA when played I>y these leading Artists; Chad Wackcrman with Frank Zappa Danny Seraphinc with Chicago 

Carmine Appice wiihTed N'utjenf/Joe Lixlma with Johnny Mathis. 


The microphone clement (a modified SM-57) is manufactured exclusively by SUCRE IJK(JTHERS. INC for May FA. 
May FA is also available through Slingerland Drum Company on all catalog drums. 

-May i:a ts protected under V S Intern p t Ibwo iH (♦chef l S and J’oivign patent* pending —-—— 



Photo by dairy Gofdenbetg 



HUiU9[ 


Q. In the MD interview with Steve 
Smith, he said that you had a concept 
as far as time is concerned that really 
helped him. Could you elaborate on 
that for me? 

Tyrone Waller 
Chicago, IL 

PETER ERSKINE A. I'm coming from basically a jazz 



drummer's point of view, and in jazz, 
timekeeping takes place mainly on 
the ride cymbal. So what I did with 
Steve was basically tried to get his 
ride cymbal playing to be very strong, 
so the quarter notes would always be 
driving ahead. In other words, the beat 
always has to be moving ahead. A 
drumbeat is not just a static thing — 
it's actually a propulsive, continuous 
series of rhythms that keeps the song 
moving along. And so in timekeeping, 
it always has to be moving forward. 
Everything you play has to contribute 
to the forward motion of the music. As 
a matter of technique, you've really 
got to dig into the ride cymbal. You've 
got to develop a certain snap on the 
cymbal, while playing with a lot of 
looseness. Before your timekeeping 
can become complex, you have to 
master the basic, but difficult, chore 
of being able to swing and play very 
simply. If the basic timekeeping is 
real strong, this underlying strength 
will support any kind of subtle or com¬ 
plex syncopation that you want to put 
on top later on. With Steve, it works 
dramatically well with what he plays 
with Journey. His playing is very 
strong, yet he's throwing in a lot of 
subtle jazz things. He's got the jazz in¬ 
fluence, and you can hear it. 



MAX WEINBERG 

Q. What type drum sticks do you use 
and why? 

Scott A. Fox 
Racine, Wl 

A. I use ProMark hickory 5B with a ny¬ 
lon tip for concert/stage work. I use a 
ProMark hickory 5A in the studio 
where volume is not as important a 
factor. I use hickory because the resil¬ 
iency takes the shock away from your 
hands and leaves it in the stick. 


STEVE JORDAN 

Q. How long did you play with the 
Brecker Brothers? Did you record with 
them? Also, what kind of drums and 
cymbals do you use? 

Patrick Bradley 
Navan, Ireland 


A. I first played with Mike and Randy 
Brecker at an Arista All-Stars concert 
at Montreux, Switzerland, around 
1978 or 79. It wasn't really billed as 
the Brecker Brothers, but the band 
consisted of Mike and Randy, with 
Mike Mainieri, Warren Bernhardt, 
Tony Levin, Steve Kahn and myself, 
and we did a lot of Brecker Brothers 
material. The only Brecker Brothers 
album I played on was Detente, on 
Arista. 

I use Yamaha drums, but I also have 
a variety of snare drums that I like to 
use periodically. I have a collection of 
old "classic" snare drums. I like to 
look for old, deep, wood Ludwigs, plus 
I have a couple of Black Beauties, an 
Eames snare drum made by Joe 
Macsweeney, and a Frank Wolf drum. 
But Yamaha drums are the drums I 
love as far as the rest of the kit goes. 
For cymbals, I'm an old K. Zildjian ad¬ 
vocate. You can't find them so I al¬ 
ways hunt for them. There are people 
who know I use them so they save 
them for me when they run into them. 
Sometimes I'll use an occasional A. 
Zildjian, but it has to be an old one. 


114 


NOVFMBER 































ARTHUR PRESS 


Q. In your book Mallet Repair, you 
state that 100%-nylon yarn should be 
used to re-wrap marimba mallets. I've 
tried many yarn shops and they all 
told me that there's no such yarn. The 
closest they could come was 55% 
nylon/45% acrylic. Where can I obtain 

100% nylon yarn? A 

3 3 Anonymous 


A. Unfortunately, 100% nylon yarn is 
very difficult to obtain . The 55% 
nylon/45%) acrylic combination is very 
good and should last quite a long time 
before having to recover, assuming 
you don't have to play too many glis- 
sandi. 


JOHN PANOZZO 

Q. I'd like to know what kind of microphones (make and 
model number) you are using on your drumset. Please in¬ 
clude all the microphones—overhead, tympani, bells, etc. 

P.W. Bolander 
Minneapolis, MN 

A, I turned this question over to my sound engineer, Yaz 
Mataz, and he provided the following information: 



| CHANNEL 

MICROPHONE 

PROCESSING 

1—'Vocal 

Shure SM10A 

Headworn Mlc 

Slightly Compressed 
with DBX 160. 

John has an on/off 
footswitch to help 
control leakage. 

2— Kick (Stage R) 

3— Kick (Stage L) 

EV RE-20 

EV RE-20 

(for each): 

Valley People Kepex II 
Orban 672A 

Parametric EQ 

DBX 760 Compressor 

4—Snare (Top) 

AKG C414EB 
Cardioid Pattern 

10 dB Pad 

75 Hz Roll-off 

Valley People Kepex II 
DBX 760 compressor 
Orban 672A 

Parametric EQ 

EXR SP-1 Exciter 

5—Snare (Bottom) 

Sony ECM-51 
Telescoping Mic 

Valley People Kepex If, 
triggered by Channel 4 
(Snare Top) Output 

6-Hi-Hat 

Neumann KM-851 


7— Hi Rack Tom 

8— Hi Mid Rack 

Tom 

9— Lo Mid Rack 
Tom 

10—Lo RackTom 

11 —FloorTom 

EV RE-16 

EV R&16 

EV RE 16 

EV RE-76 

EV RE-20 

(for each): DBX 901 

Noise Gate 

Orban 6228 Parametric 
EQ 

EXR SP-1 Exciter 

Tom-Toms are then 
submixed to a stereo 
pair. 

12— Cymbals (SR) 

13— Cymbals (SL) 

Sennheiser MK416 
Short Shotgun 
Sennheiser MK416 
Short Shotgun 


14— Lo Timbale 

15— Hi Timbale 

Sennheiser MD421U 

Sennheiser MD421U 

Omnicraft GT-4 Noise 
Gate 

Omnicraft GT-4 Noise 
Gate 

16— Octoban (Hi 
Quad) 

17— Octoban (Lo 
Quad) 

16—Finger Cymbals 
& Triangles 

Crown PZM-6LP 

Crown PZM-6LP 

Crown PZM-6LP 

Omnicraft GT-4 Noise 
Gate 

Omnicraft GT-4 Noise 
Gate 

19— Orchestra 

Bells, 

Wind Chimes, 

& Belt Tree 

20— Cowbells, 

Iamb. 

AKG C414EB 

Bi-Directional 

10 dB Pad, 150 Hz 
Roll-off 

Shure SM-57 


21—Chimes 

AKG D224E 


22— Tympani Lo & 
Mid 

23— Tympani Hi 

EV RE-20 

(Placed above and 
between 
the twoTymps) 

E VRE2Q 


24—Tympani f 

Cymbal 

AKG €451 



NOVEMBER 1982 


115 



























The MD feature on Terry Bozzio (Nov. 
1981) left off with Terry pursuing a record 
deal. After continuously being rejected, 
but still believing in their music, Missing 
Persons persevered and borrowed money 
to press their own ep. Putting an ad in the 
Album Network Tip Sheet and distribut¬ 
ing the record themselves, they succeeded 
in getting airplay on twenty-two stations 
across the country, and it even reached #1 
on three of them. They ended up selling 
10,000 records, something they hadn’t 
even sought at all. What they simply 
wanted was a record contract, and after a 
year-and-a-half of trying to attract atten¬ 
tion in L.A., Capitol Records signed the 
band. ’’Rupert Perry at Capitol was inter¬ 
ested in us from the beginning, but he 
couldn't get anyone else in his office inter¬ 
ested," Bozzio explained. "When we first 
started the band, we thought with our con¬ 
nections and who we had been with, we'd 
get a deal in three weeks. We were figuring 
on three weeks of rehearsal and no one los¬ 
ing any of their life savings, but we learned 
real fast that nobody wanted to know any¬ 
thing about it. In the process of having it 
take so long, we got an incredible educa¬ 
tion. We now know what it takes to get a 
record from your mind to the man on the 


street." 

Terry always aspired to have his own 
group, but it took a long time for him to 
believe it would actually work. "My wife, 
Dale, was real supportive. We had a lot of 
positive thinking along the way and 
decided to take the bull by the horns. You 
just have to go for it and once you get 
started, you don't stop and you don't take 
"no" for an answer. Being a drummer, 
most of the time you're stuck in the back¬ 
ground and you don't have much to do 
with what's going on. That always rubbed 
me the wrong way because I felt I was intel¬ 
ligent and had something to say. I studied 
music and I'm very interested in composi¬ 
tion and have a lot of aspirations in that 
direction." 

Each member contributes to the writing, 
and right now, Terry is the only member 
who writes independently at times. He 
admits, however, that for a long time he 
was quite insecure about his writing. 
"Zappa was so heavy, and when you're a 
player, you have a certain level you look at 
your whole situation with. As a writer, 
especially if you're a novice, it's hard to see 
yourself playing the garbage you think 
you're writing. It seems so simplified. But 
the turns of events and my getting tired of 


_ by Robyn Flan s 

playing esoteric, complicated, intellectual 
music and wanting to play something sim¬ 
pler, made it happen the right way. I fig¬ 
ured that the kind of stuff I could write 
would just be right for the public because 
it's not that complex. We're making a con¬ 
scious effort to be accessible as possible. 
Basically, the man on the street doesn't 
know about odd times and weird dissonant 
harmonies and doesn't want to know 
about them." 

To Bozzio, it is the perfect situation, and 
working closely with his wife has been a 
positive experience. "It's actually better 
than when I used to go on the road and be 
gone for six months. That's the opposite 
extreme and probably the worst because 
when you come back, there's a totally dif¬ 
ferent person. It's hard to explain the 
things you've been through and try to 
share the separate lives you've led for half 
a year. When you're with someone twenty- 
four hours a day—working with them, in 
love with them, married to them, eating, 
sleeping and living together—it does get a 
little hard sometimes, but we try to give 
each other space. But it's a great situation. 
I've got my best friends and my wife in the 
band and I feel like I have heaven on 
earth." 


Robert Williams is another drummer 
who regards his independence as ideal. 
After moving from Boston to L.A. in 
1977, his first job came quickly with Bo 
Donaldson and the Heywoods. He then 
radically switched gears when he became 
the drummer for Captain Beefheart's 
Magic Band. When Hugh Cornwall, from 
England's Stranglers, asked Robert to 
make a record with him, Williams had his 
first taste of freedom. Essentially, Corn¬ 
wall handled the guitar and Williams han¬ 
dled the drums, but each of them shared 
the playing of all the rest of the instru¬ 
ments. "And then I realized I could do it 
myself," he said. "In the early days, I was 
so idealistic about playing in groups, 


thinking someday I'd be in a group and be 
able to get together with these guys, who 
ever they'd be, and they'd be real amena¬ 
ble and we'd really work together. I never 
really met those guys. I realized the only 
way to get any music out there the way I 
wanted it to be, was simply to have my own 
band. I was so sick of being told what to 
play on the drums. Drummers are con¬ 
stantly told to stay in their place a lot, so I 
wanted to do it on my own." 

Currently, Williams is on an extensive 
tour supporting his first A&M album, Late 
One Night, released last month. (Previ¬ 
ously, he had a four-song ep, Buy My 
Record.) All the tunes (except for George 
Harrison's "Within You Without You") 


were self-written and sung by Williams, 
although he admits that it wasn't easy sing¬ 
ing and playing together at first. Prior to 
cutting the album, however, Robert took a 
series of vocal lessons and worked on the 
difficulties. "'One of the problems of play¬ 
ing and singing is the high frequencies of 
the cymbals smashing while you're trying 
to sing. You can't really hear what the 
monitors are putting out. Also, just the 
idea of the timing difference. I sing a song 
called "Buy My Record," which is in 7/8 
time and the singing is in 4/4 so I've got to 
sort of chew gum, walk, etc., etc., at the 
same time. What I did was just memorize 
the beat so well that I wouldn't have to 
think about it that much and mostly con¬ 
centrate on my singing." 


Jim Keltner doesn't have his own band, 
but often is allowed the luxury of creative 
freedom on a project. Earlier this year, Ry 
Cooder included two songs he co-wrote 
with Jim, "UFO" and "Drinking Again," 
and in fact, Jim was an integral part in the 
making of that album. Keltner admits, 
however, it turned into a disappointment. 
"That album was supposed to have a 
sound that Cooder and I were trying to get 
for the last couple of years. We thought we 


had it at one point, but we were warned 
that we weren't doing it right and it 
wouldn't come out right on acetate. In the 
end, I had to go in and overdub all the 
drum tracks, except for two songs. It hurts 
now when I listen to it because I see about a 
50% drop in performance. The drums and 
guitar on Cooder's albums are really a big 
part of the album and it was just blown. It 
was nobody's fault but mine and Ry's. We 
had it great, but we had done it in a very 


unorthodox method and when we had to 
do it over, it suffered in the process." 

Last month, Jim began working on 
another film soundtrack with Ry, and dur¬ 
ing the last few months, has been working 
on such artist's albums as Bill Burnette, 
Gary Busey, Neil Diamond, Danny Fergu¬ 
son andJack Lee. In September, Jim also 
had the pleasure of taking his son, Eric, 
into the studio with his group called Rapid 
Youth. 


continued on page 120 


116 


NOVEMBER 






























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SATTERFIELD AND HERNDON AT CHILD ABUSE BENEFIT 



Top country-rock drummers 
Fred Satterfield of The Oak 
Ridge Boys (R) and Mark 
Herndon of Alabama got to¬ 
gether backstage at the fourth 
annual Stars for Children bene¬ 
fit for the prevention of child 
abuse. Stars for Children, a 
non-profit organization char¬ 
tered by The Oak Ridge Boys 
approximately five years ago, 
has now raised in excess of 
$400,000 for work in the pre¬ 
vention of child abuse in our 
nation. Proceeds have been 
used in various ways, including 
direct funding to The National 
Exchange Club/SCAN pro¬ 
gram, which is setting up coun- 
ciling centers throughout the 
U.S. A series of national public 
service media spots, featuring 
The Oak Ridge Boys and pro¬ 
moting SCAN Centers, are now 
being aired across the U.S. 



Rotoloms © YAMAHA jftyjms 0 

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DRUMSTICKS 


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A CB700 Parallel Lay snare 
drum, custom plated with 23- 
carat gold will be awarded at 
the Percussive Arts Society 
Convention November 18th to 
21st in Dallas, Texas. The win¬ 
ner will be determined by a 


drawing. Visitors to the CB700 
display are invited to fill out an 
entry form for the commemo¬ 
rative drum honoring the 1982 
P.A.S.I.C. Fred Hoey, Prod¬ 
uct Development and Educa¬ 
tional Director for CB700, 
hosts the drawing. 


continued on page 120 


118 


NOVEMBER 



























































We’ve put a lock on precision tuning. 



Slingerland introduces the revolutionary 


Smooth operation. Slapshot's throw-off handle works 
smoothly, fluidly...more easily than any other strainer 
handle. 

Greater versatility. For the professional musician, Slap* 
shot means that the precision of your performance will 
always be matched by the precision of your snare drum 
... through the ups and downs of a live concert, through 
the stops and starts of a recording session. 

Slingerland has it. Nobody else. We've sent the compe¬ 
tition to the drawing boards with our new Slapshot 
strainer. Meanwhile, we‘U send you into a new era in 
snare drums. Play it once. You’ll never be 
satisfied with anything less. 

^ i The new 


Slingerland has virtually re-invented the snare drum with 
the creation of the Slapshot strainer. Now you can tune 
your snare drum precisely—and have it stay precisely 
tuned, no matter how many times you throw the strainer 
off and on. 

No sympathetic vibrations or sound distortions. Slap* 
shot's expertly engineered throw-off mechanism keeps 
the snares perfectly taut, even when they're not lying 
against the drum head. So there's 
iTiTiiffriTi in R no sympathetic vibration. And the 
/—^ simplified design is free of any 

C r\\ ‘ 1 „ 1 internal mechanisms that can 

\ \vf Pi ^ hamper or distort your sound. 

\^ Precision tuning. Slapshot pro- 

_^ JsrP; vtdes both horizontal and vertical 

\ c K snare adjustment. You can find the 

\ ^ exact sound you want, then lock 
onto it. 


6633 N Mil wau ke e Ave 
Niles. Illinois 60648 





















PAUL HUMPHREY 
JOINS LUDWIG CLINIC STAFF 



Ludwig Industries recently 
announced the addition of Paul 
Humphrey to its Educational 
Clinic Staff. Humphrey is inter¬ 
nationally known for his artis¬ 
tic mastering of solo and jazz 
ensemble performance on 
drumset. 

Through Ludwig's Educa¬ 
tional Clinic Program, Hum¬ 
phrey will be available for guest 
clinic appearances at in-store 
dealer sponsored workshops, 
college campus concerts and 
showcase clinics at leading per¬ 


cussion conventions. 

The Humphrey technique 
and ability to instruct has in¬ 
spired many students. He has 
given many clinics and just 
completed his second book, 
Principles, where Paul hopes to 
prepare today's musician for 
tomorrow's music. 

Complete details in schedul¬ 
ing, fees, and availability may 
be obtained by contacting: Ed¬ 
ucation Services Director, 
Ludwig Industries, 1728 North 
Damen Avenue, Chicago, Illi¬ 
nois 60647. 


© 

< T Ia 

DAVID GARIBALDI 
JOINS GROVE 
SCHOOL 

The Dick Grove School of 
Music, Studio City, California, 
is pleased to announce the addi¬ 
tion of David Garibaldi to the 
faculty of the full-time Percus¬ 
sion Program. David comes to 
DGSM via the Los Angeles stu¬ 
dio scene, also he is a former 
member of Tower of Power. 
The faculty also includes Richie 
Lepore (director), Jerry 
Steinholtz, Victor Feldman, 
Chuck Flores, Emil Richards 
and Nick Ceroli. The full-time 
Percussion Program begins 
every January and July. 

For information: Dick Grove 
School of Music, 12754 Ven¬ 
tura Blvd., Studio City, CA 
91604. 


PSA DRUM & 
PERCUSSION CAMP 

The Percussion Society of 
Australia, under the direction 
of President Keith Harrison, 
recently conducted a three day, 
live-in drum and percussion 
camp at the Naamaroo Confer¬ 
ence Centre in Lane Cove. The 
students, from many sources of 
interest including professional 
players, music teachers and 
school students from through¬ 
out the state, were graded into 
groups according to ability and 
instruments. Students attended 
lectures, not only on their own 
instrument(s), but on all as¬ 
pects of percussion. Over the 
three days, they were actively 
involved with tuned percus¬ 
sion, sight reading, the devel¬ 
opment of drum solos, playing 
charts, the history of drum¬ 
ming, plus lessons injazz,rock, 
studio and Latin American 
drumming. 

The camp's success guaran¬ 
tees the Percussion Society of 
Australia's second live-in camp 
to be held in 1983. A 


Update continued from page 116 

Look for Jack DeJohnette’s album with 
Special Edition on ECM. Stewart Cope¬ 
land is writing the music for Francis Ford 
Coppola's upcoming film, "Rumble 
Fish." Harvey Mason produced the just- 
released Lee Ritenour album. Thom 
Mooney can be heard on Rita Coolidge's 
current release. At this year's Montreux 
Music Festival in Switzerland in July, a 
group consisting of Billy Cobham 
(drums), Jack Bruce (bass), Didier Lock- 
wood (violin), Alan Holdsworth (guitar) 
and David Sancious (keyboards) blew 
audiences away. The set was recorded for 


hopeful future release. E/A recording 
group Pieces of a Dream, with drummer 
Curtis D. Harmon, will be heard on 
Grover Washington Jr.'s upcoming album 
after opening for and accompanying 
Washington on his most recent tour. Per¬ 
cussionist Bobby Campo has departed 
Louisiana-based LeRoux and is currently 
freelancing in percussion and trumpet. 
Chick Corea's Trios album features Roy 
Haynes. Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell 
have a new album called El Corazon. Bob 
Benberg in the studio with Supertramp. 
Willie Wilcox on the road with Utopia. 
Gary Mallaber, who co-wrote eight of the 


ten songs on Steve Miller's current album, 
as well as acting as co-producer, is on the 
road with Miller. Brian Glascock on the 
road with The Motels. Mark Craney is on 
the road with Gino Vannelli and doing 
clinics throughout the country. He can 
also be heard on Vannelli's upcoming live 
album. Kenny Aronoff is currently touring 
with John Cougar. Outlaws drummer 
David Dix has been gigging around upstate 
New York with members of the band Pic¬ 
tures. The band is billed as Rick Cua and 
Friends. Finally, congratulations to Craig 
Kramph whose wife, Susie, recently gave 
birth to their third daughter, Courtney. 


Drum Market continued from pane / / / 

SCHOOL FOR MUSICAL PERFORMANCE. 
Specializing m Drumset and Mallet Instru¬ 
ment Studies. Private instruction on all in¬ 
struments. Voice, theory and songwriting. 
Jazz and Rock Ensemble Workshops.— 
Rehearsal Space Available.—Musical Di¬ 
rector, David Kevins, BA, MA, MS.M, 
910 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223 
(212)339-4989, 

DRUMMERS: Jazz. Fusion, Rock. Solos. 
Reading drum charts using short and long 
tone method of phrasing. Free interview re¬ 
quired. Henry Beckmann, NYC (212) 348 
2269. 


ATTENTION DRUMMERS!!E Specialized 
studies on Progressive Fusion and Rock 
Drumming. Covering complete methods 
and theme developments of Cobham, 
White, Williams, Palmer, Bruford, Peart, 
Bozzio, Phillips, Rich, Bonham ,. . Studies 
covering: Developing Ideas creatively; un¬ 
derstanding theme potential; motifs; con¬ 
structing strong solos; funk approaches; 
oddtime; polyrhythms; finger technique; 
Gladstone technique: record transcrip’ 
lions. My material will establish strong 
technique and give you many Ideas. Jeff 
516-681 9556 


WANTED 


WANTED: WILL TRADE FOR OR BUY PRE 
1948 SLINGERLAND DANCE BD, 14" x 24" 
or26 \ white pearl only, after 6pm, 704-627- 
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V 


120 


NOVEMBER 
















Pearl drums are just like me 
Fat and Sensitive 


ove how they respond to any 
kind of tuning and head combination. The X-l snare strainer is a beauty. It’s the 
smoothest most precise I’ve ever seen. I have basically always felt that a drum is a 
drum, and generally all or most of today’s drum companies make good quality 
drums. So what can be so different from one brand to the other? 


Jim Keltner 


It’s just something you feel...l feel it in Pearl drums 

A product of Pearl International, Inc. 408 Harding Industrial Drive. Nashville. Tennessee 37211 

In Canada contact Peart Music Division, 161 Aldan Road. Markham* Ontario* Canada L3R 3W7 




PREMIER CROWN 
OUTFIT 

New wood finishes have just 
been added to Premier's latest 
Crown outfit, and the drum 
shells have been thickened. 
Combined with the new stands 
and fittings, these latest im¬ 
provements make Crown even 
more attractive and better value 
than it was when the prototypes 
were shown at the Frankfurt 
Music Fair earlier this year. 

The deep-gloss wood finishes 
are achieved by staining and 
varnishing the natural wood 
shell, and the three choices are 
Birchwood, Cherry Rosewood, 
and Dark Walnut. Five very at¬ 
tractive colors are also avail¬ 
able (red, black, silver, white 
and blue) and there are options 
of Tristaror Trident stands and 
a choice of additional drums 
and accessories to extend or 
change the outfit as fashions 
and needs change. 

These Crown outfits are in 
the mid- to low-price market 
and will appeal very much to 
semi-professional players. 



MOUNTS FOR LP 
TIMBALES AND 
TIMBALITOS 

A means that permits LP 
Timbales and Timbalitos to be 
used as conventional tom-toms 
in a standard drum kit set up is 
now available from LP. 

Pictured with the CP327 
Power Tom-Tom Stand are 14" 
and 15”, and 12" and 13" LP 
Timbales and a set of LP Tim¬ 
balitos. This arrangement, used 
over a bass drum in place of, or 
in addition to, traditional tom¬ 
toms, is one of the newest 
trends in percussion today. 



NEW ENCORE MALLETS 


Encore Mallets is a new line 
of marimba, xylophone, and 
bell mallets produced by Dan 
Lidster. These mallets feature a 
100% virgin-rubber covering. 
The use of the latex covering 
coloring system gives a more 
resonant tone by bringing out 


the fundamental of the note. 
All mallets, except for six se¬ 
lected hardnesses of plain rub¬ 
ber balls, are latex wrapped and 
are available as: plain latex, 
yarn wound, cord wound, 
graduated sets, two tone, dou¬ 
ble headed, and amplified vibe. 


Including four sets of marching 
mallets, there are 78 which are 
available in both birch and rat¬ 
tan handles. 

For further information 
write: Encore Mallets, Attn: 
Dan Lidster, P.O. Box 2029, 
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48106. 


t= 



122 


continued on next page 

NOVEMBER 














































WHETHER IT’S 

ON THE SKINS, IN THE STUDIO, 
OR OUT ON THE ROAD 



The Strongest Name In brums 

For a foie colorticslo* (WUdSlOOto: TAMA Do?. Ml) P.Q, fim 886, Bcn^iilcm, Pa. 14020 17 BnMttamy. hlu^ Full*,, IDS.Udl 

H42I B.E. CfbI e Avow. Cili eif Industry. CA ^ 174^ * In Canada ft355 Park AvrJI CHitrenf P-Q* H2Y4 H5 


* 


SIMON PHILLIPS GETS 


Simon Phillips is all over ihtr place ihese ela>£. 
On the road with Ai Dt Mculu. in the stttdio 
with JcfF Beck, on video with Pete Toivtrsend 

- . nnnthpr i"dur~._another session. With 

scheduling like that, it's easy to see why Simon 
docs his getting around on (he strongest name 

in drums —TAMA! 


Tnnta drums deliver the kind of lop notch, 
dependable quality, pros like Simon demand 
from (Titflr equipment, no matter hou tough the 
going gets. 

So, when you tind your musical needs 
demanding the most, demand the best — 
TAMA. 






















PRO MARK 
INITIATES NEW 
PROMOTION 

The "Pro-Mark Promise" 
promotion enables drummers 
to buy a pair of Pro-Mark 
Hickory sticks for just $2 (retail 
price: $6.50), which essentially 
will cover the cost of shipping 
and handling. In return, the 
drummers who receive the 
sticks promise to tell their local 
retailer "how great our new 
hickory sticks feel, sound and 
play." 

The promotion is designed to 
better acquaint drummers with 
the new, Texas-made hickory 
sticks, and ultimately to en¬ 
courage music retailers to stock 
the new product, according to 
Pro-Mark President Herb 
Brochstein. 

"I know that many drum¬ 
mers prefer hickory wood over 
all other kinds of wood, and 
though this is an expensive pro¬ 
motion for us, it's the quickest 
way I can think of to get a pair 
of our new hickory sticks into 
their hands," says Brochstein. 

Pro-Mark Hickory is the first 
line of drumsticks to be pro¬ 
duced in Pro-Mark's new man¬ 
ufacturing facility in Houston, 
Texas. The line is available in 
eight wood-tip models and six 
nylon-tip models. 

Pro-Mark also produces 
handmade oak drumsticks in 
Japan and handfinished drum¬ 
sticks in Taiwan, and recently 
resumed production of eleven 
models which previously had 
been suspended because of a se¬ 
vere worldwide shortage of 
white oak wood. 


Due to the increased use of 
Roto-toms, Gauger Percussion 
has now adapted RIMS to Ro- 
to's using conventional drum- 
company hardware. This al¬ 
lows the Roto-tom to be 
positioned much closer to the 
player as a more integrated part 
of the drumset. The instrument 
is now tuned by turning the 
handle of the center Roto shaft 
instead of the entire Roto-tom 
itself. The RIMS will fit 8" thru 
16" Roto's and provides total 
suspension of the instrument. 
No modification of the Roto- 
tom is required and can be 
placed on the RIMS mount in 
minutes. For more information 
write to Gauger Percussion Inc. 
15108 Highland La., Minne¬ 
tonka, MN 55343. 



NEW DRUM NOTATION PAPER 



NOW Percussion Co. has 
recently introduced drum-write 
notation lines. The concept 
originated and has been suc¬ 
cessfully tested with students 
during the past five years. This 
unique line of manuscript pa¬ 
per will provide the teacher and 
student with a series of notation 
lines matching the popular 
drumming texts used. Styles 
range from a single line to 
twelve lines for the expanded 
set-ups. 

Contact: NOW Percussion 
Co., P. 0. Box 1234, Blaine, 
WA 98230. « 



DECEMBER’S MD 


ELVIN JONES 


Plus: 

Miking 

Techniques 


T # V ^ W - i Miking 

A; A- v Technique 

? ^ 7 ^ 4 £ side: 

^ Workshop 

JAMES BLACK JOHN DENSMORE 
AND MUCH MORE 

DONT MISS IT! 


124 


NOVEMBER 













We asked Graham Lear 
what he liked about 
Gretsch Power Drums. 


He said you cant beat cm. 



Santana s Drummist . Graham Lear laid all of 
the following on us. without missing a beat 


“I’ve 


-tried a lot of 
good brands but Gretsch 
has all the elements I want, 
starting with the reso¬ 
nance of a maple shell— 
I’ve always liked the sound 
and, now, the Power Shells 
are even better for my 
purposes. 

‘ ‘The Power Toms have 
a deep, round tone, and the 
snares cut through every¬ 
thing. That’s important, 
playing with Santana, 
because we’re so percus¬ 
sion oriented. My drums 








D/ecast hoops for a true, round sound, crisp 
rim shots. 



have got to project, as well 
as cover the full range of 
what the music requires. 
My Power Drums cut 
through the loud amplifica¬ 
tion, especially important 
in live situations ... and 
they do it without any 
unnecessary tuning 
changes ... no sacrifice 
of tuning. 



“Gretsch has all the 
sizes I need, all the individ¬ 
ual elements I was looking 
for. The hardware is excep¬ 
tional too ... sturdy and 
handsome, great cymbal 
stand—not too much 
weight at the top, great hi- 
hat, double tom mount, die- 
cast hoops, the stands fold 
easily and compactly ... 
the drums are beautifully 
crafted ... I’m really 
impressed by Gretsch, all 
the way down the line.’’ 


What more can we say, 
except listen to Graham ... 
and Gretsch, on Santana's 
explosive Columbia album 
release Change , coming 
soon. 



We caught Graham in an obviously unposed 
moment of reflection 


Graham 



The LJnbealables. 




























WHEN BILLY COBH AM 
PLAYS HIS ZILDJIANS, 

HE'S PLAYING WITH DYNAMITE. 




Someone once said of 
Billy Cobham: 1 ‘He does 
certain things because 
he just doesn't know 
they can’t be done.” In 
the course of doing 
things that "can’t be 
done” with his own 
Glass Menagerie group, 
with the likes of Bobby 
and The Midnights, 

George Duke, Stanley 
Clarke, and Freddie 
Hubbard on some 300 
albums, he’s been 
named Down Beat 
Drummer of the Year 
time and time again. 

Here are some of 
Billy's observations: 

On His Schooling. 

'I graduated from Gros- 
smgers resort up in the 
Catskill Mountains. No, 

I'm just kidding. Actual¬ 
ly, I went to the School 
of Music and Art in 
New York City, but at 
graduation time 1 got 
a gig at Grossingers 
and they had to send my diploma up there.” 

On Playing Cymbals Upside Down. ' I first 
got the idea of inverting my cymbals a few years 
back when I was in Finland. I was at an outdoor 
concert and a band from Prague was playing 
about 500 meters away. The drummer had an old 
Chinese cymbal and he was playing it upside 

down, way up above the 
drum set. You could barely 
hear the rest of the band at 
that distance. You just heard 
this great explosive cymbal 
sound. Now I play one 22" 
China Boy High upside down 
and one 18" China Boy High 
in the regular position. The 
reason I play one upside 
down is the way it projects. 


Why does Billy use our new China Boys for his crash 
and ride Cymbals: Explosive POWER! 


—I It can be the loudest 
sound on stage. What 
happens with the cymbal 
is that when it is pro¬ 
jected up at the room, it 
makes the whole room 
the cymbal. The whole 
room vibrates from the 
cymbal sound” 

On China Boy 
Cymbals. "I started 
using China Boys for my 
crash and ride cymbals 
because of the explo¬ 
sive effect they have. 
When you hit them you 
get this ‘POW‘! There’s 
an ama2ing amount of 
projection. I can get a 
lot of different effects 
from my China Boys. 

If I play them upside 
down, hitting the outer 
lip will give me a nice 
slapping solid stick 
sound. They also sound 
great with mallets, al¬ 
most like small gongs. 
You can ride on them 
and get a very different 
kind of ride sound. And because they cut out fast, 
you can get very nice short crashes.” 

If you’re a serious drummer, chances are over¬ 
whelming that you, like Billy, are already playing 
Zildjians. Zildjian-a line of cymbals played by 
drummers on six continents-a line of cymbal- 
makers that spans three centuries. 

]-- 

For your copy of the full color Zildjian Cymbals and Accessories 
Catalog and Cymbal Set-Up Book of famous drummers see 
your Zildjian dealer or send $4.00 to Zildjian, Dept, 12. 

Avedis Zildjian Company, Cymbal Makers Since 1623, 
Longwater Drive. NorweQ, Mass. 02061, USA 

Name ___ _ 


Street. 


City. 


only serious choice. 


MD 1182